AirAsia, STB sign agreement to boost Sabah’s tourism

AirAsia and the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to boost Sabah’s tourism industry over the next five years.

The partnership aims to enhance air connectivity between Sabah and the BIMP-EAGA, ASEAN, North Asia, and Oceania from 2024-2028.

AirAsia plans to launch 14 new domestic and international routes, including Kota Kinabalu-Bandar Sri Begawan, Kota Kinabalu-Perth, Tawau-Guangzhou, and Sandakan-Hong Kong, pending market reviews and regulatory approvals.

The collaboration will also focus on developing Kota Kinabalu International Airport as a regional aviation hub.

The MoU was signed by AirAsia Group Deputy CEO Datuk Captain Chester Voo and STB CEO Julinus Jeffery Jimit, with Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew witnessing the event.

Liew highlighted Sabah’s growing status as an affordable travel destination, attributing much of this success to AirAsia.

In the first half of the year, Sabah welcomed 1.24 million tourists.

Tourism contributes significantly to the local economy, creating jobs and supporting SMEs. In 2022, tourism accounted for 22.8 per cent of employment in Sabah.

Julinus emphasised that 90 per cent of arrivals in Sabah are by air, making this partnership crucial.

Chester noted that since 2002, AirAsia has flown nearly 80 million guests to and from Sabah and aims to increase these numbers significantly.

In 2023, AirAsia flights held a 60 per cent market share for Sabah tourism.

AirAsia Malaysia operates 288 flights weekly to 21 destinations from Sabah, including routes to Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Hong Kong, Seoul, and more.

This partnership is expected to transform Sabah into a vibrant tourism hub, driving economic growth and improving livelihoods.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.