KOTA KINABALU –Sandakan is being promoted in the Korean Tourism Market through a collaboration between Hana Tour and Ibis Styles Waterfront with Sabah Tourism Board.
The collaboration between the Korean top wholesale tour agent in Korea with the hotel will ensure Sandakan is promoted for its various attractions including its wildlife, allowing eco-tourism experience for guests.
The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun said the number of Korean tourists in Sabah is increasing every year.
“Over the years, many Koreans have visited Sabah. In 2013, the Koreans arrivals to Sabah increased by 32.1 per cent to 106,213 tourists. Last year, for the first ten months, Korean tourists arrival to Sabah increased by 16.8 per cent from 84,333 tourists to 98,483 tourists,” he said.
Speaking during the the Grand Opening of Hana Tour Service in Kota Kinabalu, here today, he said , currently there are three airlines flying direct from Incheon to Kota Kinabalu including Asiana Airlines, Jin Air and Eastar Jet.
“There are 18 flights with 3,158 seats weekly. As of now, Sabah Tourism Board is in serious discussion with Asiana Airlines to get direct flights from Busan to Kota Kinabalu,” he said.
“If this is a success, we expect to further increase of Korean arrivals to Sabah. This is a good indication that we are moving in the right direction,” he added.
He also stated that the State government will continue to develop and improve new tourism products and facilities to ensure sustainable tourism in the effort to maintain Sabah’s position as a key tourist destination.
Masidi also hoped that 2015 will bring positive impact to the tourism industry in Sabah.
Kota Kinabalu is the first Hana Tour branch opened in Malaysia. It started promoting Sabah in 2002 with charter flights during the summer and winter seasons with Asiana Airlines and Korean Air for three-year with an average 90 per cent flight load. This result to a direct schedule flights between Seoul and Kota Kinabalu in 2005.
Hana Tour is the top wholesale tour agent and also the trend setter in Korean market, with over 3000 retail agents in Korea promoting its packages around the world. – By Fizah Yusof/SayangSabah