Escaping the winter chills

A total of 180 Koreans were expected to arrive at Senai International Airport, Johor, at 12:05 am last 24 December 2010, signaling the first of a series of charter flights organized by Amiga Tours from Korea to Johor for the winter holiday season. On hand to welcome them are Mr. Tony Joo, President of Amiga Tours; YB Hoo Seong Chang, Chairman of Johor State Tourism Committee; and Mr. Nizam Abdul Wahid, Acting State Director for Tourism Malaysia Johor.

Tourism Minister YB Dato’ Sri. Dr. Ng Yen Yen, who was in Korea to attend the T20 Tourism Ministers’ Meeting, had launched the charter flight packages in Seoul on 11 October. The charter operation is the first and largest to be organised from Seoul direct to Johor Bahru.

Amiga Tours, one of the largest tour operators in Korea, has engaged Asiana Airlines as the flight operator, and is offering Koreans several golf tourism packages to Johor, i.e. 3 nights/5 days, 4 nights/6 days or 7 nights/9 days. The package includes golfing at some of Johor’s finest golf courses – Pulai Springs Golf Club and Tanjung Putri Golf Club, shopping, and sightseeing tours.

The twice-weekly flights (on Thursdays and Sundays) commence from 23 December 2010 until 3 March 2011, for a total of 20 flights. The effort is expected to bring in 5,000 Korean tourists to Malaysia.

Tourism Malaysia provided support in terms of sponsoring two familiarisation trips to Johor in September and October for travel agents and media from Korea to help boost demand for travel to Malaysia during the winter season. Tourism Malaysia also organised an event in Korea to launch the winter holiday charter service.

Besides this, charter flight operations from South Korea since 24 December 2009 had brought in 15,452 Koreans to Sabah and Sarawak as well. Up until September 2010, Malaysia has received a total of 205,966 tourists from Korea, an increase of 19.9% as compared to 171,775 tourists for the same period in 2009.