Saturday, July 05, 2014

Sabah Tourism Ministry to woo American tourists

KOTA KINABALU: The Ministry of Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment is planning to woo Americans, especially those from Portland, Oregon, to visit to Sabah.

According to its minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun during a press conference following the launch of the MATTA Fair Sabah 2014 held at Suria Sabah yesterday, the ministry will be holding a Sabah promotional tour in Portland, Oregon this coming September at the invitation of the US ambassador to Malaysia, His Excellency Joseph Vun, who hails from the city.

Presently, efforts were being made to forge a ‘sister city’ tie between Kota Kinabalu and Portland.

Masidi said that the ministry was not expecting a surge of tourist arrivals from the US after that but cited that the trip in September was geared at inculcating awareness among Americans on Sabah’s existence as one of Malaysia’s best eco-tourism states.

“We also don’t have any target (of visitors from America) as we realise it involves long travelling time from San Francisco to here,” he said.

He also said that it remains to be seen whether it would be economically feasible to install a direct flight from San Francisco to Kota Kinabalu and vice versa.

“This is a commercial decision and has to be made by the airline,” he said.

To get to the US presently, people from Sabah will have to travel to either to Seoul, Korea or via Hong Kong before connecting to San Francisco. The flights are operated by Aseana Air and by Korean Air.

Aside from the US, the ministry will continue its promotional effort in Singapore and in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“They have many quality citizens in Singapore and in Jakarta. There are also a lot of expatriates in Singapore and Jakarta. We will double our efforts,” he said.