Kota Kinabalu: State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said starting from this month there will be increased flights between China and Kota Kinabalu to cater to the increasing number of tourists from China.
"As of July this year the number of Chinese tourists who came to Sabah is already equal to the entire number of tourists who came to Sabah last year.
So tourist-wise in terms of the Chinese market we are doing well.
"International tourists this year have also been better than last year so we can expect more European tourists as well.
"The flights from China have also improved. Two months ago I went to China and Hong Kong to negotiate with the airlines to increase their services to Sabah.
"I am happy to inform that starting from the end of this month there will be an AirAsia direct flight between Guangzhou and Kota Kinabalu everyday. Starting from this month also there will be three direct flights a week by Malaysia Airlines between KK and Shanghai .
"Starting this month there will also be 25 direct flights a week between KK and Hong Kong by three carriers i.e. MAS, AirAsia and Dragonair.
"I want to also say that we estimate that by the end of this year the highest number of tourists to Sabah are tourists from China."
Masidi said as of November, there were 126 chartered flights from China to KK and this shows the Chinese are choosing Sabah as their favourite destination.
"I hope we can take note of this to leverage what we have in Sabah to cater to the visiting Chinese tourists to Sabah.
"This can only mean there is a commercial benefit to us in Sabah, especially food providers, and I can assure you that Lido is one of the few food outlets that will benefit from the arrival of these visitors from China," he said at the official launching of the State's fourth Hawker Food Festival 2012 at Lido Square, Monday.
Masidi congratulated the Lido Hawkers Association and the hawkers for their food and service quality which, he said, has been improving each year.
"We should be proud because we have the ability and skill to serve food of the highest standard in Lido Square. Lido is famous and the top choice of tourists from China. And each time they come to KK the first thing they ask is where is Lido?", he said.
Later Masidi and other VIPs proceeded to tour and sample the food of the hawker stalls in the area.
Also present was Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir, Perlido Association Chairman James Chan Chau Vun and Malaysian Hawkers Association National President Lee Teong Chwee, Street Food 2012 Festival Organising Chairman Chong Kim Fah, Perlido adviser Datuk TC Goh, Sabah Gerakan Chief Datuk Gordon Leong, Hakka Association Sabah President Datuk Jimmy Tham and City Hall Director General Datuk Yeo Boon Hai.
“From my last briefing, there are only four areas in Sabah where sharks can be spotted. And, if we don’t do something about it, the population may disappear from our waters completely,”
Sabah’s Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun