A surge in the number of Korean visitor arrivals to Sabah is foreseeable, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew.
She said this is made possible by Asiana Airlines’ mounting of daily charter flights from Incheon to Kota Kinabalu from Dec 23, 2023 to Feb 29, 2024.
She disclosed this after meeting with representatives from Asiana Airlines, Jin Air, Jeju Air, T’way Air and Air Busan at the Networking Luncheon held at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul.
Speaking to representatives from the five Airlines, and Korean tour and travel agents, Liew said : “Come to Sabah for golf. We have some of the best golf courses in the Borneo region.
“And do take advantage of the Sabah-Malaysia My Second Home Programme.”
The Minister also attributed the anticipated surge to an increased flight frequency for the Busan to Kota Kinabalu scheduled flight via Air Busan from twice weekly to four times weekly from December 28, 2O23 to March 3, 2024.
“On top of that, there will be a change of aircraft model from B738 (seat 189) to B777-200 (seat 393) for the Incheon to Kota Kinabau scheduled flight via Jin Air seven times weekly from December 13, 2023 to March 3, 2024,” Liew said.
The other key contributory factor is Sabah’s continuing promotional effort in collaborstion with Korea-based Airlines through the Sabah Tourism Board (STB), she added.
Charge D’Affaires of the Embassy of Malaysia in Seoul, Nazarudin Ja’afar said whatever target that has been collectively set is within reach under the leadership of the Sabah State Government, Sabah Tourism team and Tourism Malaysia in Seoul, together with trusted local partners, operators and agents.
According to him, for almost a decade, the Republic of Korea has been and remains one of the top 10 market sources for Malaysia since 2015.
“As of June 2023, Malaysia welcomed 188,784 arrivals from the Republic of Korea. Malaysia targets to receive 16.1 million international tourist arrivals in 2023, with projected tourism receipts of approximately USD10.7 billion,” Nazarudin said.