KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government is expected to get four more direct flights from China by February next year, said state Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming.
“Beginning Nov 15, Malindo Air will commence the flight from Chengdu, and the following month will see the airline ferrying people from Changsha.
“The same airline will open up its destinations in Tianjin and Guangzhou before Chinese New Year,” he said, adding that there were currently 171 international flights, including about 80 from China, flying in to the state.
He was speaking at a press conference after the launch of Mercure Kota Kinabalu City Centre hotel here.
Pang said Chinese and Korean nationals made up 60 per cent of international tourists in the state.
As of August, the state registered 296,441 Chinese, 196, 895 Korean and 41, 968 Taiwanese tourists.
“The state government welcomes hoteliers to invest in Sabah, which, with the availability of places to stay, the (state Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry) is able to resume its marketing activities.
“There have been shortages in accommodation, especially for highly-demanded four- or five-star hotels and resorts with beach views,” Pang said.
He said the state government assured international hotels that their investment would be protected as the authorities would impose stricter regulations on residential areas that could be rented via the Airbnb platform.
Earlier during the launch, Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman said the state’s efforts to market Sabah had relied strongly on identifying and working with the right partners, from the private sector to tourism associations and international groupings.
“Sabah made the right decisions over a decade when we placed our focus on tourism as one of our engines of growth, and as outlined in the State Development Agenda.
“It is my hope that more investors, both from Malaysia and overseas, will see the potential that Sabah has to offer in terms of tourism and services.”
Present were state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, AccorHotels chief operating officer (Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore) Garth Simmons and Mercure Kota Kinabalu City Centre general manager Jacques Leizerovici.