Batik Air is set to launch a direct flight from Tashkent to Kuala Lumpur on December 8, attracting many Uzbeks looking to escape the winter season.
Sabah is seen as the perfect destination for Uzbeks to enjoy the tropical climate.
To entice Uzbeks to visit Sabah, a group of Uzbekistan travel agents, led by the Malaysia-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce vice-president Dilsod Elmuradov, has arrived in Kota Kinabalu to explore potential collaboration with the Sabah Tourism Board.
The delegation includes Uzbekistan’s Exclusive Travel founder, Gulnova Hodjaeva, and its director, Barno Omonova; Avantgarde Group representative Shahzod Pulatov; and Sabah’s Funholiday managing director, Connie Chong.
They held a meeting with Sabah’s Assistant Tourism, Culture, and Environment Minister, Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, to convey their intentions.
Also participating in the meeting was Sabah Tourism Board’s deputy chief executive officer, Julinus Jimit.
This marks the Uzbek group’s inaugural visit to Sabah, where they plan to spend five days exploring various destinations on the west coast.
Elmuradov emphasized their strong interest in promoting Sabah and their goal of experiencing the region’s popular offerings firsthand, in preparation for the Tashkent International Tourism Fair scheduled from November 15-17.
“We are committed to showcasing Kota Kinabalu. During our stay, we will also conduct inspections of medium and high-end hotels in the Kota Kinabalu area,” he added.
The group’s itinerary includes visits to the Mari-Mari Cultural Village, white-water rafting and camping sites in Kiulu, firefly and proboscis monkey tours, and island hopping at Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, among other attractions.
They mentioned that Sabah seems to offer everything on their list of must-have experiences, including beaches, islands, wildlife, rivers, and family getaways.
Meanwhile, Joniston welcomed the collaborative efforts of the Uzbek travel agents and encouraged them to submit a formal proposal to the Sabah Tourism Board.
“The fact that they are showing interest in assisting in promoting Sabah highlights the positive development stemming from our recent visit to Uzbekistan for the UNWTO General Assembly last month.
“The Board welcomes any proposal that brings benefits to the state, and we hope to see this partnership come to fruition.
“This collaboration not only opens doors to the diverse and vibrant culture of Sabah but also paves the way for an increase in tourism, benefiting both parties involved,” Joniston added.