The Borneo Post (Sabah)

More airlines eyeing KKIA

- 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.
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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