Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sibu tourism players unhappy direct flights still not in pipeline

SIBU: Tourism players here bemoan that direct flights continue to elude the town and they have exhausted all avenues to get their concern across.

Sarawak Central Region Hotel Association chairman Johnny Wong Sie Lee lamented yesterday foreigners would continue to be a rare sight here unless there were direct flights for international travellers.

He also called for more airlines to serve Sibu, which he said was the gateway to the central region.

“It is very difficult for us to plan our promotion to entice foreign visitors without direct flights. The international connectivity ought to be strengthened as transits would cause tourists to shy away from the town.

“In fact, Sibu has all the conditions, including a myriad of places of interest to become an international tourist destination.

“For starters, making the Sibu/Singapore direct flight and vice-versa a reality would certainly do wonders for the town’s tourism industry,” Wong said.

He added, “We can target Singaporeans as with their higher currency, they would be enticed to spend and this will generate spin-off effects for the economic sector.

“Taxi drivers, hoteliers, restaurants and other business outlets would stand to benefit from this. Besides, culture and handicrafts, tourists can savour a gamut of mouth-watering local delicacies.”

Wong also lamented that their room occupancy rate had plummeted.

“Many hotels are struggling to stay afloat. Our regular clients are salesmen from the peninsula, and helped by courses held in hotels rolled by government agencies. So you see, we need more tourists to boost our business.”