Wednesday, September 23

Sabah targets 500,000 Korean visitors

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Liew (second right) and Park (second left) with Rosmadi (left) and Suzaini at the Jeju Air Inaugural Flight Muan-Kota Kinabalu Press Conference.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah sets its sight on achieving 500,000 Korean visitors in the future with the Dec 23 commencement of Jeju Air’s Muan-Kota Kinabalu and 2019 Busan-Kota Kinabalu route.

Deputy Chief Minister cum Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew said South Korean arrivals were number two for international visitors into Sabah.

“In 2017, South Korean arrivals reached a record high of 310,802 visitors, a double digit or 57 per cent increase compared to the same time in 2016. Up to October this year, we have already received 267,861 visitors which is a 7.5 per cent increase compared to the same period last year,” said Christina during a press conference held in conjunction with the Jeju Air inaugural Muan-Kota Kinabalu flight press conference at the Hyatt Regency here on
Sunday.

“With this connection to Muan by Jeju Air, Sabah is officially entering and reaching out to travellers located at secondary cities in South Korea.

“We hope to continue this strategy to receive a continuous flow of South Korean visitors in the years to come.

“South Korea has a population of over 50 million, if Sabah can only capture just 1 per cent of their population or 500,000 visitors per year in the near future, that would be a very good achievement for us.

“There’re still so many Koreans who must experience Sabah’s attractions.

Earlier on, Christina pointed out that Jeju Air’s new Muan-Kota Kinabalu was the second route after Seoul-Kota Kinabalu.

“I was told that in Malaysia, Sabah is the only state with services by Jeju Air, and today we have two South Korean cities connected to Kota Kinabalu by the airline. What a privilege it is,” she said.

“I have more good news. I was informed that in the second quarter of 2019, Jeju Air will start its Busan-Kota Kinabalu flight,” she revealed, adding that the efforts were made by Sabah Tourism Board (STB).

Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry permanent secretary Datuk Datu Rosmadi Sulai, STB general manager Suzaini Sabdin Ghani, Jeju Air branch manager in Kota Kinabalu, Park Cheon Kyu and Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board Sabah Office director Jamilah Abdul Halim were also at the press conference yesterday.

The Jeju Air Muan flight flew into Kota Kinabalu International Airport using a 737 Boeing aircraft with a total of 70 per cent load, total seats of 189.

Jeju Air flies out of Kota Kinabalu to Muan on Thursday and Sunday every week.