Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chief executive Gracie Geikie said the new flights presented an opportunity for the state to tap into Penang as an another gateway apart from Kuala Lumpur.
"Penang has a number of international connections. With the direct flight between Kuching and Penang, tourists will be able to come here through Penang," she told a press conference here on Friday.
She added that state Assistant Minister of Tourism Hamden Ahmad would be leading a delegation of tour agents and local media on a familiarisation tour to Penang from Feb 9 to 11.
Similarly, a delegation from Penang will arrive here on Feb 7 for a familiarisation tour of Sarawak.
"We will have a dialogue on how we can work together to promote tourism in both states and support the new flight route between Kuching and Penang," Geikie said.
On Visit Malaysia Year 2007, she said bookings and reservations for Sarawak looked promising with hotel occupancy on the rise and more tour groups expected to arrive in the state.
"A cruise ship, the Silver Whisper, will be arriving in the next few days bringing 480 tourists. We are also expecting several charter flights from China in the next few weeks.
"Hotel occupancy in Kuching is currently about 78 per cent. Sibu and Miri are also enjoying increased occupancy," she said.
Earlier STB conducted a prize draw for its month-long "Spot the Car Sticker" contest in conjunction with VMY 2007.
VMY 2007 secretariat head Hashimah Nik Jaafar drew the top three prizes which comprised trips for two to Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu.
Other prizes included hotel stays for two and meal vouchers at various hotels in Sarawak.
The contest was run from Nov 28 to Dec 31 last year in major towns statewide to create public awareness on VMY 2007.
Source : STAR
[tags : malaysiahotelnews hotels malaysia resorts news travel tourism travel vmy2007]