Time to be proactive on air connectivity
John Teo | 02 Mar 2018 00:30

WITH direct, non-stop flights linking Kota Kinabalu to a dozen cities in mainland China, Sabah is steadily reaping the rich bonanza of the Asian economic powerhouse’s outbound tourism trade, now averaging well in excess of US$100 mil (RM390 mil) annually worldwide.

The recent boom in new hotel openings in the Sabah capital is barely coping with the tourist invasion from China and, to a lesser extent, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and the Philippines.

Hotels in the city and elsewhere in the state were reportedly fully booked over the recent Chinese New Year holidays.

Nearly 400,000 Chinese tourists visited Sabah last year, and the state government is ambitiously but not unrealistically targeting to reach a million tourists this year as more China-bound flights are likely to be added.

This is all music to the ears of those businesses in Sabah that cater to tourists. But contrast that with what is going on in Sarawak.