KOTA KINABALU, July 21 — Introduction of South Korean Jeju Air flights to Kota Kinabalu are anticipated to lead to higher visitor arrivals from that country, said state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun.
Masidi also expressed optimism that new direct flights by the airline which launched its inaugural service to KK at Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) on Wednesday evening would boost Sabah’s marketability in South Korea.
“The 99.9 per cent load in last night’s flight to KK means the number of South Korean travellers to Sabah would increase in future, I am confident the airline would do well here,” he told reporters at a press conference yesterday.
Jeju Air made its maiden flight to the capital city at KKIA before midnight on Wednesday carrying 195 passengers and crew.
The low-cost carrier based in Jeju City will offer daily direct flights between Incheon, Seoul and KK.
Masidi said the state recorded a 4.4 per cent growth in tourist arrivals in the first four months this year compared to the same period in 2015, with northeast Asian countries including China, South Korea and Taiwan contributing the highest visitor numbers at around 54 per cent combined.
Jeju Air vice president Lee Seok-joo said the airline was targeting an annual sales of US$700 million (RM2.8 billion) this year.
“South Korea currently has five low-cost airlines including Jeju Air which means more Koreans are travelling abroad. With Jeju Air you can expect to receive more South Koreans to Sabah,” he said. — Bernama