KUCHING, April 11 — Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) is resuming its Brunei Darussalam to Kuching flights starting May 1, this year.

Deputy Minister of Tourism Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew said RBA will have two flights weekly to Kuching International Airport after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have three flights per week from Singapore to Kuching and two flights per week from Singapore to Miri through Scoot Airlines.

“We also hope to resume international flights from Pontianak and Brunei soon while RBA will resume its flight to Kuching twice per week starting from May.

“We strongly believe that international arrivals will greatly increase this year especially now when travel is made easier without the hassle of undergoing quarantine for travelers who have completed their vaccination,” said Ting at the Sarawak Tourism Coordination Committee (STCC) meeting at a hotel here today.

For domestic flights, Firefly will start the Penang to Kuching route seven times per week, with the inaugural flight this afternoon and the Penang to Miri route seven times per week, Ting added.

He is also optimistic that the Sarawak will have about 1.2 million visitors, generating RM3.2 billion in tourism receipts and while the international tourism is slowly reviving, domestic tourism will continue to drive the state’s tourism industry.

“From January to March this year, visitor arrivals increased 593.2 per cent (229,678 people) as compared to the same corresponding period in 2021.

“The tourism receipt had also increased 569.25 per cent (RM517 million) as compared to the same corresponding period in 2021.

“Malaysia finally allows quarantine-free entry for fully vaccinated travellers from April 1, ending almost two years of stringent border controls introduced to contain the Covid-19 outbreak,” Ting added.

Meanwhile, he said the ministry is prepared to move from the pandemic to endemic phase of Covid-19 and the ministry and its agencies will continue their efforts to implement short-term measures for recovery of the tourism, arts, and culture industry.

“The ministry, through Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) had launched Sia Sitok Plus programme in partnership with Malaysia Airlines on January 19 this year to encourage travels into Sarawak.

“We also had launched the popular discounted domestic travel campaign through Sia Sitok 3.0 Campaign and Sia Sitok Accommodation 2.0 staycation campaign on March 1.

“Both campaigns with RM2 million subsidies from STB have received overwhelming response from the domestic market and were sold out before their end date of April 30,” said Ting.

STB also concluded the state’s participation in the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) Fair 2022 at World Trade Centre at Kuala Lumpur last weekend.

“Sarawak has been chosen as the featured destination of the fair. During the fair, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) with 20 of its industry partners showcased Sarawak’s attractive culture, adventure, nature, food, and festival (CANFF),” Ting added. — Borneo Post Online