KOTA KINABALU: Tourism players want direct flights for the Singapore-Sandakan route.
The Sandakan Tourism Association (STAN) has proposed this to the Sabah government in order to boost tourism into the east coast district famous for wildlife and nature parks.
STAN president Teo Chee Kim said on Monday (May 16) that it put forth the proposal during the recent courtesy call on state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin.
Direct flights from Singapore to Sandakan would help the local tourism industry get back on its feet after two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.
Teo said accessibility and air connectivity were key to reviving the sector.
"The lack of connectivity makes Sandakan less marketable – since more time and money are needed for visitors to get there (at present)," he said.
He said Sandakan could serve as a weekend getaway as Singapore was only about two hours away by air.
Furthermore, he said, ecotourists from Europe and Australia could also come in through direct flights from Singapore.
Jafry noted that the recent completion of Sandakan airport's runway extension project was timely for more flights to come into the district.