Wednesday, April 06, 2016

MASwings offers 70 per cent off on tickets to support festivals in Borneo

KOTA KINABALU: MAS wings is offering up to 70 per cent off on their air tickets to support this year’s 11th Borneo Jazz Festival and 19th Rainforest World Music Festival on May 13-14 and August 5-7.

For the Borneo Jazz Festival at ParkCity Everly Hotel Miri, fares are RM92 from Bintulu; RM95 from Labuan; RM107 from Sibu; RM114 from Kota Kinabalu and RM130 from Kuching.

The selling period has started and will last until May 12 while the travel period will be from May 5 to May 21.

For the Rainforest World Music Festival at Sarawak Cultural Village in Damai, Kuching, fares are RM104 from Sibu; RM130 from Bintulu and Miri; RM152 from Kota Kinabalu and RM165 from Labuan.

Tickets have begun selling from now until August 4 and the travel period will be from July 29 to August 14.

“We target at least 5,000 visitors to come for the two-day Miri Jazz Festival this year and some 20,000 for the three-night Kuching Rainforest World Music,” said Sarawak Tourism Board deputy chairman, Datu Ik Pahon Joyik during a press conference at the MAS administration building, yesterday.

“There will be a lot of moving crowd and usually they will visit the handicraft and food stalls after listening to their favourite bands. That is why we also invite other industry players to set up booths to enjoy the benefits derived from the festivals,” he said.

According to him, out of 100 per cent of the people who turned up for both the festivals last year, some 60 per cent were Malaysians and 40 per cent were foreigners.

“I have met a lot of festival goers from Sabah who never fail to come down to Sarawak every year. However, we don’t have the exact figures of how many Sabahans actually came for the festivals but based on the records obtained from the Sarawak’s Immigration Department, there were 900,000 Sabahans who visited Sarawak last year,” noted Pahon.

The festivals had also helped to boost the arrival of tourists to both Sabah and Sarawak, he said, adding that tickets are priced at RM100 for both the Miri and Kuching festivals.

“From what I understand from the tour agents, Europeans will usually spend two weeks in Kota Kinabalu before heading to Kuching for another two weeks and after that they will travel to Singapore and return home.

“Or they (Europeans) will come to Kuching and after the festivals, they will continue their visit to Kota Kinabalu.

“On average, Europeans spend three to four weeks holidaying in both Sabah and Sarawak while tourists from Northeast Asian countries usually stayed for 10 to 12 days. So when you look at the trend, I think both states benefit,” said Pahon.

“And we are thankful to MASwings for forging the collaboration with us to promote Borneo as a holiday destination and the two jazz festivals.

“We should continue to collaborate not only for the movement of goods and services but also to bring in visitors, both domestic and foreign, to enjoy the richness of our cultures and nature in Borneo Island,” said Pahon.

According to him, the renowned Kuching Rainforest World Music Festival has been endorsed by the Songlines International Magazine from United Kingdom as one of the top 20 festivals in the world and they are leveraging on the recognition to promote the event.

“This is just the beginning for us as we all know, Sabah also has a lot of festivals, for example the Kaamatan Festival, Sabah International Folklore and Cultural Festival and a few others that we would like to promote too.

“And through MASwings, we are able to connect the people and bring them to enjoy the festivals in both Sabah and Sarawak,” he added.

“We are looking at the island of Borneo as a package whether they come in from Kota Kinabalu or Kuching and we would like the tourists or visitors to stay longer to explore deep into the interior areas of both states as I believe not many of us have done that before including those from the peninsula,” said Pahon.