KOTA KINABALU -- The new Shenzhen-Kota Kinabalu route by Shenzhen Airlines is expected to bring in more China tourists to Sabah and contribute to achieving the state's target of 1.2 million international tourists this year.
Tourism Malaysia state director Mohd Roslan Abdullah said Sabah had recorded an annual growth in tourist arrivals from China, from 61,567 tourists in 2006 to 77,475 tourist arrivals in 2007 and 87,175 tourist arrivals in 2008.
"This shows that there is a healthy growth in terms of tourist arrivals from that country. With the recent addition of China's carrier Shenzhen Airlines making its way to Sabah, we hope for more tourists from China," he said at the at welcoming dinner after Shenzhen Airlines' inaugural flight to Sabah.
The airline launched the new route last night, with the inaugural flight leaving Shenzhen at 11.50pm with 163 passengers, including invited guests and members of the media, and which arrived here at 2.30am today. A batch of Sabah media members flew out to Shenzhen at 4.30am as part of its familiarisation programme.
Shenzhen Airlines sales department general manager Liu Zhen said it will fly to Kota Kinabalu twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays with a capacity of 164 seats and although it is currently operating chartered flights the airline hoped to operate scheduled flights soon.
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