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Surabaya visit gives opening for cross-tourism with Sabah and Sarawak

Last Update: 28/07/2019

SURABAYA, July 28 (Bernama) -- A visit organised by the Indonesian consulate in Tawau and Kuching, in which tour agents from Sabah and Sarawak were taken to various attractions in East Java, has spawned potential tourism ventures between the two Malaysian states and their Javanese counterparts. 

The one-week visit which began on July 23 and is also being attended by media practitioners from Sabah and Sarawak, has enabled the group to be taken to locations such as Kota Batu, Malang, the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park and Surabaya.

The visit was aimed at introducing tourist attractions in and around Surabaya to visitors from Borneo, said Santy Losiani of the Indonesian Tourism Ministry (Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei promotions). 

Santy said that while past promotions had focused on attracting tourists from Peninsular Malaysia because of existing flights between Surabaya and Kuala Lumpur, it was hoped that in future, flights between Surabaya and Kota Kinabalu would be made available.

The group was able to see first-hand, tourism products and attractions in locations which are still unknown to most tourists from Sabah and Sarawak.

Participant Mohd Azlan Saleh  Abd Salam, 40, the executive director of a travel company, shared that “not many tourists from Sabah go to Surabaya because we don’t know about its attractions, compared to Jakarta and Bandung which are favourites”.

The trip was an eye-opener for Mohd Azlan Saleh who said the plentiful accommodation in Kota Batu including five star hotels were a big change compared to his last visit there in 2005 when it only offered  homestay accommodation.

He also believes that while tourism attractions in East Java are promoted among Sabah residents, Sabah in turn, could offer its attractions such as Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia’s highest mountain, to residents in East Java. 

As part of the cross promotion between both locations, he called for a new flight route between Kota Kinabalu and Surabaya to be established.

For Johny Gerakit Goran, 45, a sales consultant with a tour agency, the tour has sparked some ideas on how to improve the tourism industry in Sabah.

He believes that just as how tour agents from Sabah and Sarawak have been introduced to attractions in East Java, tour agents from Indonesia could in turn be invited to Sabah and Sarawak to witness its tourism hot spots.




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