More air­lines eye­ing KKIA

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jenne La­jiun

KOTA KIN­A­BALU: Tourism will con­tinue to fea­ture as part of Sabah’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, said Chief Min­is­ter Tan Sri Datuk Seri Pan­glima Musa Haji Aman.

Speak­ing at the launch of the open­ing of Mer­cure Ho­tel yes­ter­day, Musa said that with Sabah’s strong pres­ence in the global tourism mar­ket, the gov­ern­ment re­mained com­mit­ted in fur­ther de­vel­op­ing the sec­tor along with pri­vate en­ti­ties.

The Chief Min­is­ter said Sabah had a va­ri­ety of prod­ucts that could cater to the needs of tourists, from na­ture des­ti­na­tions to rich cul­tural her­itage, a di­ver­sity of food and shop­ping op­tions.

He said the state gov­ern­ment was also tak­ing steps to en­sure that the state’s eco-tourism prod­ucts re­mained sus­tain­able and would con­tinue to at­tract trav­ellers.

“We do this by fo­cus­ing on sus­tain­able and tar­geted de­vel­op­ment and with this, ar­eas of nat­u­ral her­itage are con­tin­u­ously pro­tected,” he said.

Musa said Sabah was see­ing a rise in in­ter­est among air­lines to of­fer di­rect flights from re­gional des­ti­na­tions into the Kota Kin­a­balu In­ter­na­tional Air­port due to strong mar­ket sup­port and the avail­abil­ity of both ho­tels and qual­ity ser­vices.

“Just re­cently, Malaysian Trans­port Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai was quoted as say­ing that there had been an in­crease in the num­ber of tourist ar­rivals at Kota Kin­a­balu In­ter­na­tional Air­port (KKIA). Vis­i­tor ar­rivals at KKIA be­tween Jan­uary and Au­gust stood at 5.3 mil­lion com­pared to 4.7 mil­lion in the same pe­riod last year, and this is an im­pres­sive growth,” he said.

He said the state gov­ern­ment wel­comed the min­is­ter’s state­ment that the Trans­port Min­istry was pre­pared to en­gage more air­lines to use KKIA to fly in more tourists to Sabah.

Mean­while, Musa wel­comed the open­ing of Mer­cure Kota Kin­a­balu City Cen­tre, say­ing this would com­ple­ment the cur­rent and pro­jected fu­ture eco­nomic growth.

“Your lo­ca­tion in one of the older parts of this city has fur­ther trans­formed the face of Kota Kin­a­balu. This sec­ond Mer­cure Ho­tel in Sabah af­ter the one at 1Bor­neo Hyper­mall, is an­other mile­stone for your own­ers and a tes­ti­mony of the con­fi­dence that in­vestors have in Sabah.

“Apart from in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment which the gov­ern­ment pro­vides, we need com­ple­men­tary ser­vices such as ho­tels, and these should be of a cer­tain stan­dard,” he said.

He added that the state gov­ern­ment’s ef­fort to mar­ket Sabah had re­lied strongly on iden­ti­fy­ing and work­ing with the right part­ners rang­ing from the pri­vate sec­tor to tourism as­so­ci­a­tions and the rel­e­vant in­ter­na­tional group­ings.

“Af­ter many years of putting in the ef­fort, we are now see­ing re­sults. Sabah made the right de­ci­sion over a decade ago when we placed our fo­cus on tourism as one of our en­gines of growth and as out­lined in the Sabah De­vel­op­ment Agenda.

“This was fol­lowed by the at­ten­tion given by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment on tourism as out­lined in the Sabah De­vel­op­ment Cor­ri­dor and Eco­nomic Trans­for­ma­tion Pro­gramme,” he said.

Also present at the event were Tourism, Cul­ture and En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Pan­glima Ma­sidi Man­jun, the ho­tel owner Haji Musa Haji Ad­nin, Ac­cor MIS chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Garth Sim­mons and Mer­cure’s gen­eral man­ager Jac­ques Leize­rovici.

Musa (mid­dle), Mer­cure Ho­tel owner Musa Ad­nin (sec­ond from right), Ma­sidi (left), Garth (right) and Jac­ques dur­ing the rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony to mark the open­ing of Mer­cure Kota Kin­a­balu City Cen­tre.

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