KOTA KINABALU July 7, 2012: Matta Sabah Chapter yesterday called on the government to intervene to resume direct flight connectivity to Korea, Japan and Western Australia.
Chapter chairman KL Chan said during the opening of Matta Fair held at Suria Sabah near here that the suspension of Malaysia Airlines’ direct flights to the three countries / destinations had ill-effects on the tourist arrivals into Sabah.
Matta Sabah would like to call for the government to intervene to resume direct flight connectivity to Korea, Japan and Western Australia to benefit the community. As of April 30, Sabah recorded a drop in tourist arrivals from Japan by 29.1 per cent and Australia by 4.2 per cent compared to the corresponding period.
Our promotions and marketing efforts have been wiped off, not to mention the loss of credibility and goodwill. We expect a further drop in tourist arrivals in the coming months. Even domestic arrivals have somewhat remained stagnant or rather recorded a one per cent decrease. This is attributed to the increasing airfare between East and West Malaysia and competitive airfares to other destinations in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, India and the Maldives. For example, MAS is offering a 50 per cent rebate for travellers to these destinations ex KUL with booking periods from 18 June 2012 to 31 August 2012,?he explained.
He added that the federal government should consider awarding a license to the Sabah and Sarawak governments to operate a regional airline to alleviate the high costs of airfare between East and West Malaysia and to boost regional tourist arrivals.
At the same time, Firefly should also be encouraged to resume flights to Sabah to boosts tourist arrivals and tap the segment of tourists who wanted to pay low-cost fares and travel in comfort, he said.