SIBU: Direct flights from Hong Kong to Sibu twice a week are expected to begin next month after the state government signed an agreement with Hong Kong Airlines earlier this year.
Chief Minister Adenan Satem said the flights are expected to increase tourist arrivals to the state’s central region.
“This is in line with Sarawak’s open sky policy inviting interested airlines to have direct flights to the state,” he said in a speech at the launch of Visit Sibu Year 2017 at Dataran Sibu here last night.
Adenan said Sibu was the main entrance to the central region of Sarawak, boasting of various tourist attractions comprising Kapit, Sarikei and Mukah which had tourism potential not fully explored and developed.
“Sarawak’s central region is rich in culture, nature, adventure, heritage and history,” he added.
The chief minister also announced an allocation of RM200,000 from the state government to the committee in charge of ‘Visit Sibu Year 2017’. The tourism sector is a major contributor to the state economy, with a turnover of about RM9 billion with 4.5 million tourist arrivals last year.
The amount was equivalent to 13 per cent of Sarawak’s total gross domestic product (GDP) last year, said Adenan, adding that the tourism sector would also provide employment opportunities to the people of Sarawak.
He said Sarawak emphasised six initiatives to develop and promote the state’s tourism sector.
These initiatives are to gazette more forests to be used as national parks; open parks to tourists, researchers and scientists; finance the upgrading of facilities in national parks; study the suitability of an area to see tourism potential; invite foreign experts to help develop and promote the tourism sector; and, have an open sky policy inviting interested airlines to operate in Sarawak.