Wednesday, May 22

‘Direct flights to Sarawak hard as numbers not in our favour’

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Lee about to flag off taxis after presenting the drivers with VSC car stickers during the event yesterday. With him are Sharzede (third left), STB officials, Miri City Council councillors and local tourism operators.

MIRI: Efforts to increase the number of direct flights to Sarawak will depend on whether there is enough passenger load, says Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin.

According to him, the Sarawak government currently has to rely on visitors coming through other hubs such as Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Brunei and Kota Kinabalu, as the state does not have the numbers for airlines to consider establishing direct flights.

“We have to build the numbers (passenger load) first and of course they (airline operators) will come to Sarawak. There was a Chinese airline which did a study in Kuching, but they said our passenger load number was small.

“That is why we have to build up the numbers by improving our tourism promotion and making our marketing strategy more effective (to attract more visitors),” he said after launching the distribution of Visit Sarawak Campaign (VSC) car stickers at Miri Marriot Resort and Spa yesterday.

In view of that, Lee said all Sarawakians have a part to play in VSC by creating a good image of the state to visitors that would make them want to return in future. He said it would be helpful if locals have good knowledge on the food, culture and places of interest of their respective area, which they can impart on visitors.

Meanwhile, Lee said the recent acknowledgement of Kuching as ‘World Craft City’ by the World Crafts Council would definitely help attract more craft enthusiasts to visit Sarawak.

“Crafts are one of the tourism products for the state. With 27 ethnic groups, Sarawak has its own uniqueness and the crafts produced are also all handmade.” Present with Lee during yesterday’s launching was Sarawak Tourism Board chief executive officer Sharzede Datu Salleh Askor.