Malaysian carrier Malindo Air could soon start flying directly from Kota Kinabalu to Tokyo, Japan, according to the State Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Pang Yuk Ming.
We've been working with Malindo Air to start flights to Japan. Hopefully it will be by the second half of the year on a trial basis.
He said this while walking around the Japan Week fair at the City Mall held this Wednesday in Kota Kinabalu.
According to the assistant minister, Sabah has recently seen a shortage of travelers from Japan and direct flights to this country will greatly benefit the state tourism sector. On the other hand, he said, he believes Japanese travellers will also find a reason to enjoy flying directly, as they are known to dislike airport transits.
Pang further revealed that a total of 22,913 Japanese tourists visited Sabah in the past year until October. The number could have been significantly greater if not for the advisory issued by the Japanese Government on the security situation in the state.
They have been advised by their government that Sabah is still unsafe for travel.
Pang further said that the Sabah government is working on clarifying the current safety situation in the state to the Japanese Government through its embassy and consulate there.
The State assistant minister also said he is confident that the number of tourists from Japan coming to the State will increase gradually, especially given the current political situation in the Philippines.
If we look at what has been happening in the Philippines especially in the manner the President is handling the southern part, I can say that we're seeing a bright future ahead.
Malindo Air currently operates charter flights from Kota Kinabalu International Airport to Tokyo.
The Japanese Week will continue till 15th January (Sunday) and will cover “basically everything” from Japan, according to the event organizer Akiko Yong. Yong also said the fair coincides with the City Mall’s 10 year anniversary, where some cosmetic products from Japan will also be showcased to the public.