KOTA KINABALU: From the sunset to the ocean, these are among the attractions Sabah has to offer to Korean travellers.
Banking on these attractions, one of Korea’s airline companies - Air Busan - decided to start direct flights from Busan and Daegu to Kota Kinabalu for the first time this May.
Air Busan general manager for Kota Kinabalu, Jung Sang-bong, said Koreans love coming to Sabah and that more than half of their travellers choose the state as their favourite destination.
“Koreans love the sunset here and the oceans and are looking forward to sightseeing and travelling via Sabah’s old rail transport,” he said during a press conference here Thursday (May 9).
He said Busan, being well known for its oceans and seaside, and Daegu, its textile industry, could very much attract Sabahans and even people from other Malaysian states as well.
“We are confident of the two-way traffic following the opening up of these two direct flight routes which will commence on May 15 (Daegu) and May 22 (Busan),” Jung said.
Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew said these new travel routes would boost tourism receipts from both Malaysia and Korea.
“Koreans make up the second largest number of visitors to Sabah and we are sure with the aggressive efforts taken to promote every part of Sabah, we will see great achievements in terms of the economy,” she said.
She is looking at promoting the east coast including Tawau and Sandakan to tourists, instead of concentrating on just Kota Kinabalu.
Liew said some of the methods to bring in more travellers including Koreans to Sabah are through introduction of meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) here.
“We are building more hotels while the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) that can seat at least 5,000 at any one time is in the midst of construction,” she said, adding the project is set to complete the latest by 2020.
Liew said Sabah targets to have four million visitors by year end and by the looks of the tourism boom with over one million travellers recorded as of March, the target could be achieved earlier.
“From this total arrivals, more than 82,000 are South Korean visitors,” she said.