KUCHING, April 4 — The number of flights from Singapore to Sarawak will increase if there is demand, said Deputy Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts I (Tourism) Datuk Sebastian Ting.

He said currently, Scoot Tigerair Pte Ltd (Scoot) airline flights flies three times a week from Singapore to Kuching and twice a week from Singapore to Miri.

“We expect the number of flights from Singapore to Sarawak will increase if there is demand and also when the number of visitors coming to Sarawak increases,” he said when met by reporters after welcoming the first batch of international travellers to Kuching from Singapore at the Kuching International Airport here Sunday night.

As the state aims for 1.2 million visitors this year, Ting said he also expects more visitors coming in to Sarawak following the reopening of borders.

The first batch of international travellers, consisting of 157 passengers aboard the Scoot Airlines flight from Singapore, touched down in Kuching at 7.35pm.

(From left) Hii and Ting welcoming the arriving passengers at the arrival gate. — Borneo Post Online pic
(From left) Hii and Ting welcoming the arriving passengers at the arrival gate. — Borneo Post Online pic

At the airport, Ting alongside the ministry’s permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee welcomed the passengers, which also comprised Sarawakians who had not returned to the state for over two years due to travel restrictions following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of the 157 passengers, Ting said 65 were transiting through Singapore while 96 others would be departing from Kuching to Singapore on the return flight.

Looking at the encouraging figures, he said the state’s tourism sector will be booming.

“After more than two years, I can see that tourism will begin to boom for Sarawak. In comparison to 2020 and 2021, the industry in the past two years have suffered. When I say it is booming, it means that we anticipate more people coming in (to Sarawak).

“On this flight alone, we have 20 Singaporeans, as well as people from the Netherlands, Australia, China and (South) Korea — this means that international travellers are coming to Sarawak and this is definitely a very good sign,” he said.

Passengers lining up at the Immigration counters upon their arrival at Kuching International Airport (KIA). — Borneo Post Online pic
Passengers lining up at the Immigration counters upon their arrival at Kuching International Airport (KIA). — Borneo Post Online pic

Meanwhile, a Sarawakian returnee Julie Bong, 51, commended the state government in ensuring the arrival for the first batch of passengers from Singapore was done smoothly.

Having stayed in Singapore for over 20 years, she said she was happy to return with the warm welcome.

“In terms of the procedures (to return to Sarawak), I have joined a Facebook group where the information was shared by all the people who have the experience of coming back here.

“I have also met the requirements set by the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) as well as checking in via MySejahtera app,” she added. — Borneo Post Online