Friday, August 19, 2011

Air Accessibility A Strategic Issue For Sarawak Tourism

KUCHING -- Air accessibility into Sarawak has become a very strategic issue, in view of the positive growth of visitor arrivals, said Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chief executive officer, Datuk Rashid Khan.

Expressing concern over the recent share swap agreement between Malaysian Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia, he said tourism players would need to lobby for other airlines to land here.

"Their plans to rationalise operations will definitely have a negative impact on the tourism industry, which depends very much on air accessibility to bring tourists into Sarawak," he told reporters during the breaking of fast with tour agents and media representatives here last night.

MAS and AirAsia had on Aug 9 entered into a collaboration agreement to establish a framework to explore the possibilities of mutual co-operation.

He said Firefly, whose average load factor into Sarawak was about 70 per cent, could not operate as a low cost carrier at present.

"However, the move by Malaysia Airports to increase the airport tax, will not have any major impact, especially for medium and long haul customers as it represents only a very minimal portion of their travel expenditure," he added.

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