Saturday, October 05, 2013

Two new packages set to boost Sabah tourism

KOTA KINABALU: Two newly introduced tourism packages are expected to further boost the industry in Sabah, said Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Pang Yuk Ming.

The “Fly and Cruise” and “Manila Sojourn”, which are offered under a partnership between MASwings, Star Cruises and Airworld Travel and Tours, feature air travel, sea travel onboard a luxury cruise, and a ground tour in Sabah and Sarawak, he said when representing Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun at the partnership MoU signing ceremony here yesterday.

“The government is very pleased with this signing as it will enhance the tourism industry in Sabah specifically, and in Malaysia generally,” Pang said.

“The tourism industry is extremely important to our state and our economy. These sectors have transformed significantly over the past decade to meet growing demand while maintaining quality,” he said.

He said that in the first seven months this year, the tourism sector had grown tremendously.

“The grand total nett arrivals recorded double digit growth of 18.3 per cent with 1,723,580 against 1,456,990 in 2012. The figures are between January and July for both years.

“As of July, Sabah had achieved 61.3 per cent materialisation rate of the targeted three million visitor arrivals for 2013. The State needs a monthly average of 232,341 visitors for the next five months in order to achieve the target.

“Analysing from the industry feedback and overwhelming response from hotels and resorts for the month of August and September, coupled by year-end holiday seasons, we are optimistic that we should be able to reach and surpass the target,” Pang said.

“It is also hoped that our local community will give full support and take advantage of this first-class holiday package,” he said, adding that this type of joint venture is good as it would offer Sabahans the chance to experience a more luxurious holiday at an affordable price.

These innovative packages by MASwings come as Sabah and Sarawak’s favourite community airline celebrates its sixth anniversary this weekend.

At the MoU signing ceremony, MASwings was represented by its chief executive Officer Captain Datuk Nawawi Awang, Star Cruises by its vice president Edward Johann Leong and Airworld Travel and Tours by its chairman Datuk Seri Winston Liaw.

Speaking at the MOU signing ceremony, Nawawi said it was a bold step for MASwings to design and offer new and extraordinary travel packages for Sabah and Sarawak.

“We are delighted to work closely with Star Cruises Travel Services and Airworld Travel to bring our guests a complete and innovative travel experience.