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Direct Kota Kinabalu-Kota Bharu flights offer tourism potential
Published on: Monday, July 08, 2024
By: Wu Vui Tek
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Direct Kota Kinabalu-Kota Bharu flights offer tourism potential
Vincent and Kamaruddin with the Kelantan and Sabah tourism players during the business networking session in Kota Bharu.
Kota Kinabalu: Sabah’s tourism players are expanding into the Kelantan market following the launch of direct flights between the two states.

Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association (MCTA) Sabah Chairman, Vincent Sia, said AirAsia currently operates flights three times a week on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and they are capitalising on this service.

He said MCTA Sabah, with support from the Sabah Tourism Board, launched a roadshow to promote Sabah in the northeastern and western regions of the peninsula on June 22-28.

“We initiated the roadshow through a business networking event with tourism players in Kota Bharu, which is our new market,” said Vincent.

The event was attended by Kelantan Tourism, Culture, Arts, and Heritage Chairman, Datuk Kamaruddin Md Nor, and Tourism Malaysia Eastern Region Office, Deputy Director Mohd Azizul Arif Yahaya.

“We have also discussed with Kamaruddin and Azizul to collaborate on efforts to jointly promote Kota Kinabalu and Kota Bharu,” added Vincent.

To attract more travellers to visit Sabah, he suggested that AirAsia consider increasing flight frequency from the present three to five times a week.

Following their networking and meeting in Kota Bharu, MCTA Sabah continued their roadshow to Ipoh.

“Perak is also a new market for us with promising potential, as visitors from the State can travel to Sabah via Penang, which has an international airport,” Vincent noted.

He was also impressed by the number of outbound travel agencies in Perak, which, despite being a small State, has more than 30, indicating a strong potential market.

Vincent said he had extended an invitation to Perak Tourism Chairman Datuk Mohd Kamil Shafie to visit Sabah in the near future to foster cooperation.

“Sabah is poised to attract visitors from Perak because during the business-to-business session, we found that many Perak travel agencies had never been to Sabah,” he remarked.

“Although Perak highlights the orangutan as one of their tourism attractions, it originated from Sabah.”

“Visitors can explore orangutans in their natural habitat in Sabah, while Perak boasts its own elephants, distinct from Sabah’s pygmy elephants,” he added.

Vincent and other MCTA Sabah members also attended the National MCTA annual general meeting and election held in Kuala Lumpur, where Patrick Law was appointed as the new President.

He congratulated MCTA Sabah Advisor, Lawrence Wong, on being elected as the national 1st Vice President.

“I hope the new office bearers will provide us with greater support and create more opportunities for business and benefits for the members,” said Vincent.

Also present were MCTA Sabah Deputy Chairman Amity Wong and their members including hotel operators and travel agencies.

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