Kota Kinabalu: Malindo Air is about to link Sabah with 10 destinations in China via direct flights for the summer season, thus bringing in more Chinese tourists.
Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Pang Yuk Ming, said the new flights involve Beijing (four times a week), Chengdu (three times a week) and Changsa (three times a week), from July 14, July 12 and Sept. 1, this year.
“All this while, we have been working on chartered flights, especially during the Chinese New Year festival and the summer season (July & August).
“However, when the response turns good, the chartered flights will be turned into scheduled ones.
Once the market is matured enough and Sabah is well-known enough, then airlines are more confident to take up scheduled flights,” he said, at the inaugural meeting between the Vice-President of All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, Qiao Wei, and Sabah’s Chinese leaders.
Pang said, Malindo Air has also been allocated 93 chartered flights to Sabah for two months (July and August) from eight cities, namely Zhengzhou (17), Wuxi (13), Ningbo (13), Chongxing (8), Wenzhou (13), Changsha (10), Xuzhou (10) and Xian (9).
“The figure (93) does not include the seven weekly flights from Beijing and Chengdu as these two destinations are starting scheduled flights to Sabah beginning July,” he added.
According to Pang, China gave the foreign airline eight destinations for chartered flights and Malindo Air chose to fly to Sabah from all those destinations.
“That is something extraordinary for Malindo Air which has been helping the Sabah Tourism Board to promote Sabah. On behalf of Sabah Tourism Board, I wish to express our sincere appreciation to Malindo Air for working with us so well and for considering Sabah-China connectivity as their priority,” he said.
By the same token, the Assistant Minister said the relations between Malaysia and China are becoming increasingly better as reflected in the influx of tourists.
“Minister Datuk Masidi has given us a very high target of half a million tourists from the China market itself.
I know it is very tough. It’s very challenging because we do not have enough hotel rooms, especially resorts.
While we have upcoming hotels in the city, we want more resorts to come up in Sabah.”
On the same note, Pang said there is a possibility of reviving the Tianjin-Sabah route which was stopped some time ago due to operational matters. “It is likely for Malindo Air to re-mount the route, also in July.
Tianjin has a population of about 20 million and combined with Beijing’s population, we have 40 million people out there…that is a huge market,” he said. – Mary Chin
Source: Daily Express