Indonesia plans to revive some of its previous direct flights to Kota Kinabalu.
In the past, there were direct flights from Jakarta, Bandung and Bali to Kota Kinabalu, said Indonesia Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry Tourism Marketing for Asean Region Coordinator Dadang Djatnika.
"We don't know when is the right time for us to have the connection.
"But for Bandung, there is a big opportunity to reinstate that route because there has been popular demand," he said when met after a meeting with Sabah's Women Advisory Council led by its chairman Datuk Tarsiah Taman and travel agents at Sapta Pesona building here.
The entourage of 20 participants are on a five-day familiarisation tour to Jakarta and Bandung from June 15-20.
The trip which involves business matching and tourist spots inspection was organised by Indonesian's Consulate General in Kota Kinabalu, led by consul for economic affairs Berlian Epriliyana following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions and reopening of international borders.
"I believe we should consider the revival of the Bandung route from Kota Kinabalu, then subsequently to Bali," he said.
To date, there are 15 airlines including Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia flying directly to Bali, he said.
For the Covid-19 standard operating procedures, he said Indonesia has allowed fully vaccinated travellers to enter the country.
"Everything now is back to normal, no quarantine required, but we still need to wear masks in public areas.
"The requirement to buy Covid-19 insurance before departure for international travellers was removed on June 9," said Dadang.
However, he said visitors still needed to download Indonesia's PeduliLindungi apps to enable the health authority to trace the visitors in case of health issues.
For the arrival of inbound tourists, he said up to April 2022, Malaysians visiting Indonesia were the biggest group with 8,709 people.
"Malaysia is our top target, we are projecting 334,720 to 669,440 arrivals in 2022. In 2021, we recorded 480,723 arrivals from Malaysia and was ranked no.1," he said.
He said the top five destinations visited by Malaysians are Jakarta, Medan, Bali, Bandung and Batam to enjoy the metropolitan vibes, historical heritage, culinary spots and ambience of nature, among others.
For travel agent Brandy Wong, despite the pandemic lockdown in the past two years, they stayed active via online promotion and marketing.
"Despite struggling with no income, our staff still continued work to keep our clients informed that our company is still around," she said.
"The familiarisation trip is very important for us to check the tourist destinations to make sure they are in good condition and fully ready to welcome visitors.
"We have inspected few attractions in Bandung especially the theme parks, we are so impressed to see how they had maintained the parks despite no visitors for two years.
"Similarly, we've also checked some hotels including newly opened ones and we were satisfied that they are all ready for visitors.
"All the checks and inspections are meant to update our knowledge and information to ensure the safety and comfort of our clients when we arrange the tours," said Wong.
As for Connie Chong, the Indonesian market has always been one of her company's top products especially for the religious and shoppers group.
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