KOTA KINABALU: South Korea's Asiana Airlines plans to boost year-end direct flights to Sabah will see a surge in tourist arrivals, says state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew.
Liew, who is on a working visit to Seoul, said that Asiana Airlines was working on daily charter flights from Incheon to Kota Kinabalu from Dec 23 to Feb 29 next year.
She said this in a statement on Tuesday (Dec 5) after meeting with representatives from Asiana Airlines, Jin Air, Jeju Air, T'way Air and Air Busan during a networking luncheon in Seoul.
Liew said that Air Busan will also increase its twice-weekly flights from Busan to Kota Kinabalu to four times weekly from Dec 28 to March 3, 2024.
"On top of that, there will be a change of aircraft model from B738 (with a capacity of 189 seats) to B777-200 (393 seats) for the Incheon to Kota Kinabalu scheduled flight via Jin Air seven times weekly from Dec 13 to March 3," she added.
Liew said that the increasing number of tourist arrivals from South Korea was also due to the constant promotional and collaboration with South Korean-based airlines through the Sabah Tourism Board (STB).
Malaysia's Korean Embassy charge de affair Nazaruddin Jaafar said that Koreans remain one of the top 10 market sources for Malaysia since 2015.
"As of June 2023, Malaysia welcomed 188,784 arrivals from the republic. Malaysia has targeted 16.1 million international tourist arrivals in 2023 with projected tourism receipts of approximately US$10.7bil," he said.
Nazarudin said the target of tourist arrivals set by Sabah could be reached thanks to the close working relationship between STB and Tourism Malaysia alongside their local partners, operators and agents in Seoul.