KOTA KINABALU: Tourism in Sabah is set to improve with increased arrivals from China.
The Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (SATTA) chairman SATTA chairman Dato’ Seri Winston Liaw said they had worked hard to woo back tourists from that country through hard work to counter the drastic drop last year due to unfortunate incident in the country.
He said tourist arrivals had picked up by 30 percent in the last month and this augured well for the industry in the State.
According to him, his association had invited travel agent from Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Guangzhou to Sabah recently.
“The aircraft was two third filled with passengers where 80 percent were Chinese. This is a positive sign for Sabah,” he said, adding that he was also informed that diving spots such as Bum Bum and Mataking Island had experienced a surge of arrivals.
“February with the Chinese New Year celebration may well be a time when tourism in the State boom, and allow the tourism industry to turn around,” he stated.
He expressed his hope that tourism players and Sabahans at large would provide their best services to the 3000 visitors expected to arrive during that period.
“There will be 18 charter flights coming from Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Chongqing. All the passengers will arrive here via China Airlines,” he said adding that Malaysia Airlines would have a chartered flight of 160 visitors from Changsha to Kota Kinabalu for the first time.
“Some 10,000 Chinese tourists are expected to spend their holidays in Sabah during the lunar New Year which include arrivals of schedule flights from Royal Brunei, Singapore Airlines and Dragon Air,” he said.
“AirAsia Berhad is also offering promotional group fares from January 2015 until June next year for all its destinations operated by AirAsia and AirAsia X.”
“The 20 percent off for internet booking for China, Hong Kong and Taiwan destinations will also evoked interest among travelers,” he said.
“Hotels and resorts should do their part by offering special rates in order to attract these Chinese tourists. We urge the Government and it agency such a the Sabah Tourism Board to allocate funds for the outbound travel agents by placing advertisements in China to promote Sabah”
He noted that with added arrivals from Korea which increased with the launch of Jin Air, a subsidiary of Korean Airlines, Sabah would play hosts to influx of tourists from those two regions.- By Bosco Wong/Sayangsabah.