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Kuching: Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) is confident of a bright outlook for 2011. Starting off the New Year with the arrival of a UK based cruise ship carrying more than 200 passengers earlier this month, it today welcomed tourists from North Asia when Malaysia Airlines inaugural flight from Tokyo’s Haneda airport & Osaka’s Kansai touched down at Kuching International Airport.

The 3 times weekly flight leaves Haneda airport on Monday, Wednesday & Friday, whilst the twice weekly flight leaves Kansai on Tuesdays and Fridays. Flights from Incheon, Korea also commenced earlier on the 16 January and departs every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday. The direct flight will see Malaysia Airlines using its new 737-800 aircraft which can accommodate up to 160 passengers.

Prior to these inaugural flights, STB with the support of Malaysia Airlines and Tourism Malaysia’s Tokyo, Osaka & Seoul Offices organized a series of familiarization trips for Japanese and Korean agents into Kuching. STB also went on a road-show in November last year to meet operators and wholesalers as part of its marketing campaign to compliment Malaysia Airlines’s effort.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Tourism Board’s Chief Executive Officer, Dato Rashid Khan commented “The inaugural direct flight from these two cities augurs well for the future and we will continue to support such efforts and work closely with our partners  especially in the Far East”, he added. He said the direct flights would give Sarawak a good starting platform to tap into the Japanese and Korean markets and thus also creating long-term sustainability of these flights. The direct flights would also benefit travelers and tourists from neighbouring Kalimantan who will be able to transit in Kuching and having onward flights to these cities. The new direct flight to Kuching would give opportunities for Koreans and Japanese to explore beyond and to discover the wonders of nature and cultural heritage that Sarawak has to offer. Dato Rashid Khan in commenting on the inauguration of the flight said it signal a new strategic approach in our marketing effort in North Asia. “We are indeed pleased to support this initiative and we will be partnering with Malaysia Airlines and Tourism Malaysia to create a long term plan to bring in the tourists to the state and at the same time to sustain the route for the years to come” he added.

STB is also looking forward to the reinstatement of the Sin-Miri sector by AirAsia which is expected in Miri on the 21 Jan. This augurs well for our Sarawak Integrated Packages (SIP) campaign launched in October last year. This additional flight will no doubt boost arrivals and assist the tourism industry in Sarawak.


Gustino Basuan
Corporate Communications Unit
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