Thursday, January 12, 2017

Proposed direct flights will bring in more Japanese tourists to Kota Kinabalu

KOTA KINABALU: The arrival of Japanese tourists in the State capital is expected to increase with the proposed introduction of direct flights to Japan via Malindo Air, in the second half of the year.

Plans to launch the direct flights are aimed at attracting more visitors from the Land of the Rising Sun, which has not been producing encouraging figures.

Deputy Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming said that security in the State was the main reason for the lack of Japanese tourists.

“Japan is a country that many Malaysians like to visit and historically, we have always been connected. But lately, the arrival of tourists from Japan has not been encouraging because they are advised by their government that this part of the world is still unsafe, due to the recent kidnappings,” said Pang.

Although the issue of security has greatly discouraged Japanese from visiting the State, he said the ministry continued to work in tandem not only with the Japan consulate, but also with Malindo Air to increase the number of Japanese tourists.

“Malindo Air intends to launch direct flights to Japan because another thing the Japanese take into consideration is direct flights as they do not want to go through the hassle of transits.

“They are quickly discouraged by transit flights, and that is why we are working with Malindo to start providing direct flights to Japan, hopefully by the second half of this year on a trial basis,” said Pang, adding that Malindo also had chartered flights from Japan in the last few months.

As for the continued speculation on the security of the State, Pang said, “We are trying to work very hard with the consulate and the embassy of Japan to enlighten them on the actual situation of the security in the State, especially in KK.