At least 200 more charter and extra flights will bring in arrivals from China, Korea and Japan this summer season until March next year, Sabah’s State Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Christina Liew, says.
Sabah is a Malaysian state occupying the northern part of the island of Borneo. It’s famed for its 4,095m-tall Mount Kinabalu, the country’s highest peak, crowned with distinctive granite spires. Sabah is also known for its beaches, rainforest, coral reefs and abundant wildlife, much of it within parks and reserves. Offshore, the Sipadan and Mabul islands are noted diving destinations.
Tourism is big business in Sabah and the announcement of 200 new charter flights also from second-tier cities in China, such as Zhengzhou, Wenzhou, Nanning, Tianjin, Yi Wu and Xiayang is good news for the tourism economy.
At least 76 charter flights are expected from South Korea, including one coming from Jeju Island, the first direct charter to Kota Kinabalu from the island.
“We have already received 152 charter flights the first half of the year or, an additional 20,000 tourists from China and Japan into Sabah.” Liew said.
“This is a great opportunity to spread these arrivals to the East Coast as the current number of rooms in West Coast will not be able to carry the influx. We need to be able to give the tourists attractive products and complement that with improved services in the East Coast.”
Currently 196 scheduled international flights from 21 international cities fly into Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) every week.
Last year, Sabah received a total of 215 charter flights from China, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Thailand.
Liew added, “As for scheduled flights, the direct flight from Bangkok to KK will begin this week (Thursday), a double daily from Shenzhen and a Macau direct to KK are expected in November. All three flights would be on AirAsia.”
The current total arrivals into Sabah as of June this year is 1.891 million or an increase of +5.3% compared to the same time last year.