Kota Kinabalu: Sabah should not be comfortable with the increase in tourist arrivals as there are still problems that need attention to ensure the industry’s growth said State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.
Masidi said two days ago he had mentioned that currently there are 14 foreign airlines travelling from overseas to Kota Kinabalu and 178 flights per week which clearly shows the growing number of flights which is believed to have overtaken Penang.
“The forecast for total arrivals to Sabah for 2017 is very good. We are expecting the final number for last year’s arrivals very soon which will be around 3.65 million, bringing an estimated value of RM7.7 billion – the best so far for Sabah,” he said.
However, he said the numbers should not be taken as rate of success but instead into something profitable for the State, especially for the tourism industry.
“Numbers does not mean success. Numbers must be transferred into something profitable for everyone, for MAS and for Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB),” he said during the Welcoming Dinner of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Airbus A350XWB, here, Tuesday.
He also said that the Kota Kinabalu International Airport is one of the most profitable airport in the country.
International flights, especially from the North, usually arrive after midnight but due to the lack of working Immigration officers after 12am, there will be long queues for immigration clearance.
“We need to increase the numbers of immigration officers to work at the airport after 12am,” he added.
Masidi said that the State Government is pushing aggressively alongside the Sabah Tourism Board to establish more hotels to cater for the tourist influx, especially from the North as it would hurt the image of the State’s tourism if not taken seriously.
“We have to fix this problems because when room are scarce, it would also give the wrong impression to overseas visitors and they would opt for another destination,” he said.
Following the rural tourism that was launched last year, he reminded locals to produce more products that could only be discovered in Sabah as it would be one of the main attractions for visitors to come to the state aside from taking part in the “lung-cleansing” activities by visiting rural areas such as Kadamaian, Ranau, Tambunan and Kiulu.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, MAS launched its new A350XWB by flying it to Kota Kinabalu from Kuala Lumpur.
The aircraft will serve the London route, replacing the A380, from Jan 15 on a scheduled basis.
Chief Commercial Officer Arved Von Zur Muehlen said that the new aircraft will be conducting the route as it is a more economical aircraft and has ordered six more which will be expected to be delivered by the second half of this year. – Jeremy S Zabala
Source: Daily Express