Photo from Top Peak Travel.

Guangzhou-Tawau direct flight to boost tourist arrivals

KOTA KINABALU: More tourists from China will be flocking to Tawau once the direct flight from Guangzhou to the district takes off in July.

Dongfang International Travel Service has announced that it plans to organise a one-year direct charter flight service from the southern Chinese city to Tawau until July next year.

The Guangzhou-based charter flight operator has summitted its application to Hainan Airlines for flight service approval, where B737-800 aircraft will fly twice a week.

The plane has a capacity of eight business class and 154 economy class passenger seats.

“This will be the first charter flight to Tawau and we are excited about this,” Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew told a press conference here today.

“It is timely as we are also going to launch the Cuti-Cuti Tawau, which we have promoted in Berlin with the European market.

“I have instructed Sabah Tourism Board to make sure our tourism packages and services are in place to accommodate a large number of tourist arrivals.”

Liew, who is also in charge of state tourism, culture, and environment affairs, stressed that Tawau was a gateaway to Sabah’s east coast and should be promoted as an alternative entry point for tourists instead of flying via Kota Kinabalu.

“Currently, they are waiting for the necessary documents from us such as a letter from the Tawau airport authority to confirm on the facilities available such as customs and immigration services.”

She said the ministry was aggressively promoting Sandakan as an alternative gateaway, and added that she hoped the Guangzhou-Tawau direct flight would encourage other charter flight operators to initiate a similar service to Sandakan.

Liew said she would be leading a delegation to China, Turkey and Australia to further promote Sabah as a destination of choice.

“We expect four million tourist arrivals this year and we hope to pass the number.

“I don’t want to be over-ambitious but we hope to maintain the figure and if possible go above the target,” she added.

Article appeared on NST Online.