SIBU, Feb 27 (Bernama) -- The Tourism and Culture Ministry is prepared to cooperate with any airlines worldwide for direct flights to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.
Its minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said this was to facilitate the tourists specifically from Europe, Japan, South Korea and China to visit Sabah and Sarawak in future.
"We will endeavour to boost cooperation with tourism agents to have charter flights directly to the two destinations which are attracting the interests of tourists in those countries," he said.
He said this at a media conference after the 'Titik Sentuhan' programme at the Sibu Methodist Children's Home in conjunction with the 2016 Chinese New Year Open House event at Dataran Bandar Sibu Saturday.
According to Nazri, China had a very high potential due to the robust economy of its people currently. The number of tourists from China was high from last December to February following the cold weather during the period.
"They found our weather very suitable for them. In addition, local residents talk in numerous Chinese dialects other than Mandarin. They also like the jungle landscape in Sabah and Sarawak, wildlife and beaches," he said.
Malaysia, he said, is the 11th most popular destination among foreign tourists last year and the number of tourists visiting Malaysia was expected to rise this year.
Earlier, he handed over angpows to 80 residents of the home, 40 children from Sibu Agape Centre and 40 orphans from the Sibu branch of the Sarawak Orphans Welfare Centre.