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Xiamen Airlines makes inaugural Beijing-KK flight

KOTA KINABALU: Chinese tourist arrivals in Sabah will be boosted as Xiamen Airlines has opened the state to the northern China market with its inaugural direct flight from Beijing to Kota Kinabalu.
The airline made Kota Kinabalu its first international destination from Beijing and expects more tourists from the city and northern China to travel to Sabah, in addition to those from the southern and central parts of the country.
“We expect the new route to contribute to the growing demand of Chinese and expatriate holiday-makers to Sabah,” said Ou Dong Ying, the airlines’ vice president for its Beijing operations.
Xiamen Airlines has been operating direct flights from Fuzhou in central China to Kota Kinabalu since Jan 2017, with an average 80% load on their Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
State Tourism, Culture and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun arrived together with Malaysian ambassador to China Datuk Zainuddin Yahya on the inaugural flight from Beijing.
“Tourists from north China can now fly in directly without having to transit,” he said on arrival at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport.
The Sabah Tourism Board also gave a traditional welcome to tourists who got off the plane.
“There will be a strong exchange of visitors that will foster good people-to-people relations between Sabah and China,” he said, adding that about 40 chartered flights from China are expected over the next three months.
Sabah had 3.65 million Chinese visitors last year, a record increase of 430,000 visitors or more than 14% compared to 2016. The value of tourism receipts was estimated as RM7.7bil.
Masidi said with such a high number of tourist arrivals, the state cabinet had asked several companies to build more hotels to cater to the growing needs of tourists.
Source: The Star

Sabah Tourism expects higher receipts from growing MICE market

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Tourism board has established the Convention Bureau Unit to tap business opportunities from the state’s growing Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) market.

In a statement on Saturday, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said that the unit was created in anticipation of the completion of the world-class Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) next year.

“The convention centre will allow the board to focus on the MICE market, which would earn Sabah more tourism receipts.

“The importance and strength of this new segment of the tourism industry must be built up from now,” he added.

Masidi also announced Gordon Yapp’s appointment as chief executive officer of the Sabah Convention Bureau.

Yapp is a long-serving officer of the board and is retiring as General Manager this month.

He will assist the owner of SICC and work towards securing more business for Sabah.

Meanwhile, Suzaini Sabdin Ghani has been promoted to become general manager, from her current post as the board’s deputy general manager in marketing.

Suzaini has more than 20 years of experience as a senior employee of an international hotel chain, and has spearheaded the transformation of the board’s marketing strategies to become more focused, results-oriented, and with lower marketing expenses.

“For the last two years, we have been working hard to transform the board, striving for excellence by embracing the (private sector’s strong) work ethics and culture.

“Information and Communications Technology is now a vital component of the board’s new marketing strategy. Marketing costs are lower, but the results are much better,” Masidi added.

Source: New Straits Times

Estimated RM7.7bil in tourism revenue last year

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

Tourism players advised to embrace digital technology

KOTA KINABALU: Tourism industry players in Sabah have been advised to embrace digital technology to boost their business and further develop the industry in the state.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said this when launching the first Digital Tourism Workshop organized by the ministry through the Sabah Tourism Board.

“Just because 3.684 million tourists came to the state last year, does not mean they will come again this year. We have increasing arrivals every year, but do not take for granted.

“The world is so open today, everything is available on our smartphones. When people are planning for their vacation, they are looking for experience. That is why they prefer to make their own arrangement according to the information they found from the internet,” he said.

Masidi further elaborated that hotels and tour agents needed to look at digital technology development as the new potential in marketing their products.

“Report shows that more than half of our tourists from China came to the state on their own. They did not book their holiday through tour agents.

“Almost 60 per cent of them came on their own, and we can see that the number keeps increasing. The culture of traveling is evolving. It is not about visiting or sight seeing anymore, it is about living there,” he added.

During the two-day event, a number of speakers will be sharing their knowledge on how to move in tandem in terms of digital marketing and build a stronger branding for Sabah.

Among the speakers during the workshop include E-Tourism Frontiers founder and chief executive officer Damien Cook, who has made presentations in international forums including the World Information Summit in Tunis, the Global Experts Panel on E-Tourism, ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Börse) in Berlin as well as PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Tourism Forums.

E-Tourism Frontiers has worked with South African Tourism, Indonesia Tourism Ministry, Athens and Rhodes Tourism (Greece) to name a few, and has partnered with TripAdvisor, Facebook, YouTube, Expedia and Google.

“We are hoping this workshop will make our players wake up from our slumber, work together and not just complain. The world is changing, and we can’t stop technology from evolving. We need to evolve too,” he said.

 

Source: Borneo Post

Sabah expects more direct flights

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