KUANTAN: The Sultan Ahmad Shah Airport in Kuantan can become an important avenue to bring in more foreign tourists to Pahang and other east coast states if aggressive efforts are taken to promote it.
State culture, unity, welfare, women and family development committee chairman Datuk Seri Shahaniza Shamsuddin said it was possible and a good idea for the airport to receive more international flights.
The airport recently began receiving flights from Singapore via a low-cost airline, Scoot, owned by Singapore Airlines.
Shahaniza said the location of the airport, which is situated between the east coast and southern regions, was ideal for local flights from Kota Kinabalu and Kuching as well as countries within the Southeast Asian region.
With its location, it was also possible to cater to flights from China, Vietnam, the Philippines and even South Korea and Japan.
“However, there are various aspects that we have to look into, such as the capacity of the airport, which needs further upgrading works, including the expansion of its runway and so on, ” she said at a press conference after receiving some 140 tourists from Singapore via Scoot recently.
Shahanza was responding to a suggestion by a tourism operator to promote the airport.
Also present at the press conference were Tourism Malaysia’s Asia and Africa international promotion division director Mohamad Taib Ibrahim, Tourism Ministry Pahang Office director Datuk Idros Yahya and Pahang Tourism director Datuk Ishak Mokhtar.
Shahaniza said until September 2019, Pahang received 9,979,433 tourists and for this year, it was targeting 15 million visitors to the state.
She said as for now, there were sufficient rooms in the state, with 32,109 rooms and 564 hotels.
In line with achieving targets for Visit Malaysia Year 2020, Shahaniza said the state-level tourism promotion had started since November last year with the launch of the tagline “Pahang Simply Awesome” and “Pahang Welcomes You”.
She said besides aggressively developing the state’s tourist attractions, the government had also played an important role in managing the environmental aspect as both tourism and environment are inter-related.
“It is pointless if we promote our products for tourists but at the same time, we spoil the environment, ” she said, citing the recent operations to clear illegal and polluting farms in Cameron Highlands as a positive move.
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