‘Sarawak working to get more international flights’

Posted on : 29 Nov 2019  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari (third left) joins the cake-cutting ceremony. From left are Ng, Juma’ani, Raziah, Tengku Zainal, Abdul Karim, and Baya. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: The Sarawak government is working on getting more international flights to improve connectivity in the state.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the government needs “a year or two” to work on the issue.

He pointed out that the problem of flight connectivity with foreign countries has been an issue for Sarawak since his days as minister of tourism.

“The current minister in charge of tourism (Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah) is now engaging with the airlines to get more international into the state. We, the state government, are working hard together to fix the issue,” he said during the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching’s (BCCK) 10th anniversary dinner on Wednesday.

Abang Johari said Sarawak has many places to offer visitors and more tourists would visit those places if there are more direct flights to the state.

He pledged the problem would be resolved as Sarawak is serious about developing its tourism industry.

“One of the places which can attract tourists is the BCCK, as the venue is designed to host international events.

“We see the foreigners who come to attend the events held at the BCCK as business tourists,” he said, pointing out that business tourists spend on average nearly triple that of leisure tourists.

Abang Johari added Sarawak would improve its tourism products, including the national parks, to help develop the sector.

He said Sarawak is still on track to hit its target of five million tourist arrivals this year.

“With five million visitors to the state, it will give us tourism receipts of RM8.2 billion. We believe that it is possible for us,” he said.

Among those present during the dinner were Abang Johari’s wife Datin Patinggi Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang; BCCK chairman Datuk Raziah Mahmud; BCCK executive director Tan Sri Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot; and BCCK directors Datuk Steve Ng and Datuk Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin Tengku Mahamood.