Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Better Sarawak-Sabah air link brings more tourists from China, Philippines

KUCHING: The Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) is hoping more flights will be introduced between Sarawak and Sabah to take advantage of the Land Below the Wind’s better air connectivity to destinations like China and the Philippines.

STF president Audry Wan Ulok said Sabah today enjoyed a good number of tourists from countries like China and the Philippines, and she believed the state could benefit from a tourist spillover if both sides could work hand in hand to offer a “Truly Borneo” experience.

“They (Sabah) have chosen their routes very wisely and they are benefiting from these now. More flights from Sabah will certainly help bring in more tourists,” she told The Star yesterday.

Audry revealed that there was a forum where both sides would talk about ways to complement each other.

According to her, although in reality both sides were competitors, Sarawak and Sabah preferred to go about doing things through building a healthy cooperation.

“We spoke on many things in the forum like how to create that truly Borneo package for tourists. We also address issues on tour guides, and just recently, MASwings came into the picture, too,” she said.

Audry said she had been made to understand that Sabah was set to have more flights to the Southern region of China as well as a new destination, Puerto Princessa in Palawan, the Philippines, very soon. This, she said, was a good decision on the Sabah’s side.

Audry said for the Chinese New Year alone, Sabah had 50 chartered flights coming in from the Northern Asian region alone compared to Sarawak which only secured four.