MIRI, Malaysia -- Sarawak plans to collaborate with Indonesia-based Xpress Air for a joint tourism promotion, particularly on Miri City, following the airline's inaugural direct flight from Pontianak in West Kalimantan, Indonesia to here today.

Sarawak State Tourism, Art, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the state government was willing to give the local and Indonesian tourism agents a first hand experience on Miri City tourism destinations as well as other tourism products in other parts of the state.

We hope to invite media from Indonesia to visit Miri City so that they will be able to share interesting tourism places, he said in his speech after the airline's first flight to Miri City touched down at Miri Airport today.

His text of speech was read by state Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lee Kim Shin.

Karim said Indonesia has always been one of Sarawak's important markets and yearly arrivals from Indonesia into Sarawak state were steadily growing.

Kuching-based Indonesia consul general Jahar Gultom, who also spoke at the function, said the flight would enhance relationship between Malaysia and Indonesia.

He said Miri City, being the second destination in Sarawak that Xpress Air was operating after Kuching City, would benefit tourism for both sectors and Indonesian nationals working in Bintulu and Miri City in Sarawak as well as those working in Brunei.

Xpress Air's twice weekly flights to Pontianak from the two cities in Sarawak are scheduled on Tuesday and Saturday.

For the record, besides Kuching City and Miri City in Sarawak, Xpress Air is also flying to Melaka and Johor in the peninsula.

Xpress Air started its operation in 2005 and, as of today, is operating in 13 cities with more than 35 routes interconnected within Indonesia.


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