AirAsia sees strong tourism rebound in Asean


LOW-COST carrier AirAsia Philippines is confident of a strong rebound in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Region with the resumption of flights to Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong-Kong, Singapore and Thailand commencing in June.

On Friday, May 27, 2022, the airline resumed its flight to the capital city of Sabah – Kota Kinabalu with twice per week flights.

A growing resort destination, Kota Kinabalu is home to an array of tropical islands, lush rainforests and the famous Unesco site, Mount Kinabalu. It is also famous as an eco, wellness, health and sports tourism destination. With 32 ethnic groups living harmoniously in Sabah, the city is also well known for the promotion of cultural tourism.

Aside from tourism, Kota Kinabalu is also the industrial and commercial center of Sabah which opens strong opportunities for business and employment for everyone, including Filipinos.

“Our resumption of flights to key Asean destinations starting with Kota Kinabalu signifies our recovery especially in the international market. We hope to revive the tourism and economy of Sabah with the resumption of the Kota Kinabalu flights. We believe that the easing of safety protocols and test requirements by our neighboring countries have also revived the urge to travel among Filipinos,” said AirAsia Philippines chief executive officer Ricky Isla in a statement.


A survey commissioned by AirAsia Philippines in December 2021 revealed that Filipinos are willing to travel in smaller groups this year with their families (69 percent), partners (40 percent) and close friends (24 percent) should international travel protocols relax.

Top destinations picked by Filipino travelers include Singapore (73 percent) and Japan (71 percent). Ranking ninth in the list of top preferred international destinations of Filipinos is Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, with 47 percent of the participants including the destination in their top choices.

“We are pleased to welcome the return of AirAsia Philippines flight to Kota Kinabalu. This is AirAsia’s second international flight to Kota Kinabalu after Singapore. We are excited that international flights are progressively resuming since we rely heavily on air connectivity for our tourism arrivals,” said Sabah Tourism Board chairman Noredah Othman.

Aside from Kota Kinabalu, AirAsia will also begin to fly tourists and business travelers back to Hong-Kong (weekly) and Singapore (4x weekly) as well as Bangkok (2x weekly) and Bali (2x weekly) starting in June. (with PR)


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