KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is bracing to welcome an influx of tourists arrivals in the year-end holidays as more direct flights will head to the State.
Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun disclosed that there will be 25 direct flights between Hong Kong-Kota Kinabalu where Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will have nine flights, AirAsia (ten) and Dragon Air (six).
To top it off, AirAsia will launch the daily flight between Guangzhou-Kota Kinabalu while MAS will have the Shanghai-Kota Kinabalu flight thrice weekly, he told reporters after launching the 15th Sabah Hospitality Fiesta 2012 at Karamunsing complex yesterday.
On Dec 20, he said MAS will start Kota Kinabalu-Osaka twice weekly flights while the resumption of the Tokyo-Kota Kinabalu sector will be finalised soon, he said.
He said MAS will also start the once weekly flight between Kota Kinabalu-Perth on Dec 9.
Despite the economic problems in North America and Europe, Masidi reckoned that the trend of tourists arrivals to Sabah are still regarded good although the state registered a flat growth of 0.1 per cent to 2,098,509 in the first nine months of this year compared 2011 (2,096,202).
“In the first nine months (January-September) there was a flat growth due to the lack of domestic tourists arrivals because of the less seats capacity which were taken by the Europeans using Kuala Lumpur as a transit point to come over to Sabah,” explained Masidi.
“Remember we stop the flights to Perth, but the Japanese and Australian are still coming via Kuala Lumpur, because of this they have taken up a large chunk of the seats available,” he said.
Another factor that Sabah welcomed less domestic tourists were due to the very attractive packages offered by MAS, AirAsia and other airlines to London than coming to Kota Kinabalu, he said.
“Many Malaysians have taken up the offer and preferred to go for two-three days in London rather than coming to Kota Kinabalu,” he said.
Despite the poor domestic performance, he said surprisingly the international arrivals from less expected countries went up.
The overall statistics (January-September 2012) showed that the arrivals from China and Hong Kong increased by 44.3 per cent from 103,340 to 149,104; South Korea increased by 21.5 per cent from 48,439 to 58,871; Singapore increased by 12.8 per cent from 16,962 to 19,135; Indonesia by air increased by 81.9 per cent from 10,476 to 19,060.
Scandinavia (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) increased by 43.6 per cent from 4,436 to 6,368.
UK and Ireland increased by 35.7 per cent from 17,129 to 23,238; Germany increased by a whopping 74.1 per cent from 3,073 to 5,349; France also increased by 73 per cent from 2,669 to 4,668; North America surprisingly increased by 15.4 per cent from 14,292 to 16,489.
Speaking on the fiesta, he said it is encouraging to see talented hoteliers and students from colleges and universities getting involved in the event which provided an opportunity for them to showcase their talents and to gauge their level of knowledge.
Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Tourist influx for Sabah year-end