International tourists returning to Sabah with increased direct flights, says state assistant minister

·1-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KOTA KINABALU, July 14 — Sabah is set to rejuvenate its tourism industry with the return of direct flights from five countries, in particular South Korea which will see travellers coming in from Busan.

Air Busan last night saw the first of its relaunched flights to the city, bringing 220 passengers to Sabah, bringing the number of direct flights from South Korea to 17 per week.

State Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Environment cum Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said with the latest twice-weekly route, Sabah was showing up on international travel destination routes again.

“The increase in international direct flight frequency indicates that there is a significant demand for travel to Sabah, as well as airline interest in the Kota Kinabalu route.

“We are definitely considering expanding direct flights and possibly resuming previously suspended direct routes from Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, and China,” he said, adding that they were keeping in touch with airline companies.

There are currently 40 weekly direct international scheduled flight frequencies into Sabah, with South Korea having the highest frequency.

Others are Singapore with 14 weekly flights, Brunei Darussalam with four, Thailand with three and Philippines with two.

Since the reopening of the international border on April 1, five foreign carriers have returned to Sabah. Three of them are Korean low-cost airlines.

They are Jeju Air (via Incheon), Jin Air (via Incheon), and now Air Busan (via Incheon and Busan). Others are Scoot (via Singapore) and Royal Brunei Airlines (via Bandar Seri Begawan).

Malaysia’s budget airline AirAsia is also offering direct flights to Kota Kinabalu from Singapore, Manila, and Bangkok.

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