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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Dec 29: Royal Brunei is making a comeback to Kuching after a five-year absence to help Sarawak surmount its biggest hurdle in promoting its tourism industry — connectivity.
The twice-weekly direct flight will connect Sarawak to the world through the regional hub of Bandar Seri Begawan.
“I must thank Royal Brunei for the interest in getting back to bridge us to the world, especially connecting our focus markets of Australia, United Kingdom, China and the secondary regional markets, making it much easier tourists and visitors to visit Sarawak.
“We see this air connectivity collaboration as a smart partnership for mutual business interest and goes a long way in advancing our interest in tourism promotion, particularly when we will be embarking on our Visit Sarawak Campaign that will be launched on the eve of the New Year.
“This direct flight comes in at the right timing, and we have bigger plans in partnering with Royal Brunei,” said Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah at a luncheon held in conjunction with Royal Brunei’s Seri Begawan-Kuching flight today.
Representing Royal Brunei was its chief commercial officer Martin Aeberli.
Abdul Karim told those present that connectivity was the biggest hurdle in the state’s efforts to propel its tourism industry to greater heights.
“It has been a challenge, but my Ministry has given it a top priority to address the issue with more aggressive efforts being planned to bring in airlines and charters into the state.
“The resumption of the flight by Royal Brunei will, hopefully, be the main driver in this efforts, and by February next year, the flight frequency will be increased to four times weekly and will be a daily flight before the year ends,” said Abdul Karim.
He said with this direct flight, the Sarawak government also looked forward to strengthening its Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) segment, particularly in the Brunei market.
“Tracing of our original roots, clan gathering, fostering of relationship will be the drivers of these packages, which I firmly believe is very much alive considering the generation-long family link and ties that we have with our neighbours.
“Our strategic marketing effort will especially cater for this segment, with our product experiences specially packaged to enhance this market segment,” he said. — DayakDaily