Uzbekistan, Central Asia, a new tourism market for Sabah

By TIN Media | Sabah Published 4 months ago on 4 June 2022
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Uzbekistan is eager to explore the Sabah tourism sector with the possibility of direct flight service from its capital, Tashkent, in the near future.

Sabah's beautiful beaches, unspoiled nature and wildlife present a perfect destination for the Uzbeks. If the plan comes to fruition, it will further place Sabah on the global map as a destination of choice for Central Asian tourists.

This matter was discussed yesterday during a meeting between Sabah Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai and Uzbekistan-based Osmon Aero co-founder Dilshod Mukhomediev and director-general Anastasiya Arushanova.

The Uzbek delegation discovered the tourism potential of Sabah during their recent trip to Langkawi.

"We flew here and were impressed with the infrastructures as well as the number of hotels available.

"Currently, we have 10 direct flights from Tashkent to Kuala Lumpur. For Sabah, we are considering putting a direct flight hopefully next year," said Dilshod.

Malaysia Airlines' chartered flight from Tashkent to Kuala Lumpur will begin in July.

Dilshod added, Sabah would be an interesting destination for Central Asians due to its beautiful beaches and nature.

Meanwhile, Joniston, who is also Sabah Tourism Board chairman welcomed the proposal as this would be a long-term strategic plan to make the state tourism industry sustainable.

"If this happens, Central Asia will become a new market for us. Indeed, the Sabah Tourism Board is constantly working to attract new markets, and this will undoubtedly increase our presence.

"For a start, we must devise an effective marketing strategy and raise awareness of Sabah in Central Asia," he said, citing the possibility of drawing tourists from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan as potential markets too.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are potential emerging markets for Sabah tourism to tap in.

"Products offerings that would appeal to holidaymakers from these destinations are the islands, beaches and wildlife of Sabah.

"It is a wonderful opportunity to tap these markets post-pandemic other than relying on traditional markets like China and South Korea, which will take time to recover.

Also present were Matta Sabah chairman Lawrence Chin, Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) for Sabah and Labuan chairman Hafizan Wong and Sabah Tourism Board chief marketing officer Tay Shu Lan, among others.




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