Monday, June 25, 2007

Air woes cost Sarawak US$5 million

THE state of Sarawak has lost RM20 million (US$5,844,477) in tourism revenue due to poor air services and lack of international connectivity between the Miri and Mulu sectors since Fly Asian Xpress (FAX) took over rural air services from Malaysia Airlines (MAS) on August 1 last year, Sarawak Tourism Board marketing manager, Ms Mary Wan Mering, said.

This is an important sector as it provides access to the World Heritage Site, Mulu Caves.

The state had seen a drop in tourists from its major traditional markets such as Australia, Singapore and Western Europe when FAX failed to deliver reliable service and overseas wholesalers began pulling out.

Ms Mering said Sarawak Tourism Board would go on roadshows to Australia, Singapore and Western Europe to win back support. Asked when this would take place, she replied: "After MAS takes over the rural air services."

She added Sarawak Tourism Board would also use PATA Travel Mart and World Travel Mart as platforms to meet with major buyers and wholesalers later this year.

MASWings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MAS, will take over the rural air services in Sabah and Sarawak from FAX on October 1 provided two conditions are met - the aircraft are returned in good operating condition and the government provides full subsidy to run the rural air services.

Source : TTG
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