KOTA KINABALU: Sabah expects more direct flights from various destinations and is working hard to accommodate the increasing number of tourists to the state, said State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun.
He said in fact, 62 chartered flights from China were expected to arrive in Kota Kinabalu over the next three months.
“We need to provide enough quality hotel rooms. The state cabinet has decided to speed up the building of hotels and have tasked some companies to build more hotels,” he told reporters upon returning from Beijing on the Xiamen Airlines’ inaugural direct flight here today.
A total 163 passengers boarded the flight from Beijing, including Malaysian Ambassador to China Datuk Zainuddin Yahya.
Masidi said the state government, as well as tourism industry players needed to be proactive to cater to the needs of the visitors.
He was pleased that Xiamen Airlines had chosen Kota Kinabalu as its first international destination from Beijing – a manifestation of good relationship between Sabah and China.
Masidi said Sabah recorded 430,000 tourist arrivals from China last year, a 14.7 per cent increase from 2016.
Meanwhile, China’s Consul General in Kota Kinabalu Liang Caide said Malaysia and China enjoyed a long diplomatic ties and the relationship developed rapidly in recent years.
He said as one of China’s youngest airlines, Xiamen Airlines’ flight to Kota Kinabalu could further help Sabah’s tourism industry development and enhance trade cooperation between Kota Kinabalu and Beijing.
Vice-President of the airline’s Beijing branch, Ou Dong Ying said the number of Chinese tourists visiting Sabah grew steadily by about 20 per cent annually.
She said the trend prompted the airline to serve its first international flight out of Beijing to Kota Kinabalu. – Bernama
Source: Borneo Post
KOTA KINABALU, Dec 19 — Direct flights linking Sabah’s capital to Beijing, China will commence in January and are set to bolster the state’s tourism sector.
Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the new air link is expected to begin on January 16, and noted that China was already one of the state’s biggest source of visitors.
“But the direct flight from China will be a game changer. There will be an opportunity to improve on the quality of tourists as we can tap into the rich Northern Chinese market from Beijing,” he said at his ministry’s Christmas celebration here today.
He added that details were being finalised and the necessary paperwork being prepared for Xiamen Air to begin flying the route.
Sabah is additionally expected to add at least three more Chinese cities — Changsha, Tianjin and Guangzhou — to its air connectivity network next year.
Masidi also announced today that Indonesia-based airline, Batik Air, will commence direct flights between Kota Kinabalu and Jakarta beginning tomorrow, December 20.
“This is good news for us, not just for the tourism industry but also speaks volumes about their faith in us and how stable we are as a state,” he said.
AirAsia previously had direct flights running the route, but these were cancelled.
Source: Malay Mail Online
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s economy is gaining traction with the increasing number of tourist arrivals at Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) here, says Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
The Transport Minister said between January and August this year, tourist arrivals at KKIA stood at 5.3 million as compared to 4.7 million in the same period last year.
“This is an increase of more than 13%, a double-digit growth that is impressive by any measure,” he said after opening the state MCA annual general meeting yesterday.
Liow said his ministry was prepared to engage more airlines to use KKIA to fly more tourists into the state.
He said Sandakan airport was also being upgraded to complement KKIA.
“The runway is being extended from the current 2.1km to 2.6km at a cost of RM80mil.
“This will enable the airport to accommodate wide-bodied aircraft such as the Boeing 777 or Airbus 330,” he said.
Liow, who is also MCA president, said the Federal Government, through his ministry, was also doing all possible to make Sepanggar Port more efficient as part of its long-term measures to reduce costs of goods in the state.
MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, who was also present, said the Government was responsive to concerns of Sabahans such as scrapping the unpopular cabotage policy, paving the way for the port to be “busier than ever”.
“Sepanggar is now essentially an open port and this will help to drive Sabah’s economy,” Dr Wee added.
Recently, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the scrapping of the policy that limits the shipment of goods from the peninsula to Sabah and Sarawak to only Malaysian-flagged ships, effective June 1.
The 30-year-old policy has been blamed for the higher costs of goods in Sabah.
However, the policy will still be applicable to cargo shipping operations within Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.
Dr Wee said the Opposition had spoken out against the policy when it was in place but then voiced its disagreement when it was being removed.
He said as such, Sabahans should be wary of their tactics which were mainly to stir up the people’s emotions.
“Their leaders claim to want to protect the rights of Sabahans but they have shown time and again that what they say and do are two different things,” he said.
Source : The Star
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