Saturday, January 16, 2016

Lack of direct flights a bane for Sibu tourism

SIBU: The limited direct air connectivity will remain a stumbling block in efforts to ensure a successful ‘Visit Sibu Year 2017’ campaign.

Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) chairman Datuk Tiong Thai King said it was rather upsetting to see that the hub for many cheaper direct flights had been restricted to Kuala Lumpur.

“If one wanted to go overseas via Kuching and Kota Kinabalu, he or she would be surprised by the exorbitant sum of airfares that they had to spend,” he said in launching a signature campaign Local Government and Community Development Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh at Sibu Gateway yesterday.

Tiong also noted that even the budget airfare to Kuala Lumpur was ‘extraordinary high’, resulting in many students and those working outside the state unable to come back for festive celebrations.

The situation, he added, had also caused many townsfolk here to consider relocating to other places like Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur and even Singapore.

“That has unnecessarily caused a braindrain for Sibu,” he pointed out, noting that goods and services here had become more expensive due to costly air freight charges.

“It is, therefore, very timely for UPP (United People’s Party) to initiate this signature campaign on appealing for the ‘Open Sky Policy’ for Sibu.

“We urge the government to seriously listen to the appeal by the Sibu people to allow direct air links between Sibu and Kota Kinabalu, Singapore and Fuzhou (China).