Direct charter flight Tashkent-Kota Kinabalu on the maps
Published on: Saturday 04 June 2022
Joniston receiving a souvenir from Dilshod Mukhomediev (second from right) and Anastasiya Arushanova (third from left).
Kota Kinabalu: Uzbek charter airline agents are considering Sabah as a possible future direct flight destination. If this plan comes to fruition, it will put Sabah further on the world map as a top destination for Central Asian tourists. On Friday, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Joniston Bangkuai had a meeting with representatives of Uzbekistan to discuss the issue, among others. They were Uzbekistan-based Osmon Aero co-founder Dilshod Mukhomediev and chief executive Anastasiya Arushanova.
Also present were Malaysian Tour and Travel Agents Association (Matta) President Datuk Tan Kok Liang, Matta Sabah President Lawrence Chin, Malaysian Hotel Association (MAH) President for Sabah and Labuan, Hafizan Wong, and Sabah Tourism Board (STB) Marketing Manager, Tay. Shu Lan, among others. The delegation offered to establish a direct charter flight between Kota Kinabalu and Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. The delegates’ recent trip to Langkawi, during which they discovered the tourism potential of Sabah, gave impetus to the conception of this idea. “We have traveled here and were impressed with the facilities as well as the number of hotels available. “Currently, we will have 10 direct flights from Tashkent to Kuala Lumpur. For Sabah, we are planning to set up a direct flight, hopefully next year,” Dilshod said. The Malaysia Airlines charter flight from Tashkent to Kuala Lumpur will start in July.
Dilshod said Sabah would be an attractive destination for Central Asians due to its beautiful beaches and nature. Meanwhile, Bangkuai, who is also chairman of the STB, welcomed the proposal, saying it would be a long-term strategic plan to make the state tourism industry sustainable. “If that happens, Central Asia will become a new market for us. Indeed, STB is constantly working to attract new markets, which will undoubtedly increase our presence. “To start, we need to devise an effective marketing strategy and raise awareness of Sabah in Central Asia,” he said, citing the possibility of attracting tourists from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan as potential markets as well. Meanwhile, Tan said Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are potential emerging markets for Sabah tourism. “The product offerings that would attract vacationers from these destinations are Sabah’s islands, beaches and wildlife.
“It’s a good opportunity to tap into these markets post-pandemic rather than relying on traditional markets like China and South Korea, which will take time to recover. “Maybe we can start by series of groups starting from scheduled bouts via Kuala Lumpur and then moving on to charter flights to these destinations.With the support of the Sabah Tourism Board, better days ahead can be expected to revitalize industry,” he said. * Follow us on Instagram and join our Telegram and/or WhatsApp channels for the latest news you don’t want to miss.
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