THE recent cancellation of flights by Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia to both domestic and international destinations has caused great concerns. We have seen a drop in tourist arrivals in Kuala Lumpur, said Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit.
“We are concerned because if the cancellation continues, the growth of the tourism industry will become stagnant,’’ he said when answering a question raised by Datuk Wan Abd Rahim Wan Abdullah (PAS-Kota Baru) in Parliament.
He said the cancellation of 1,820 flights to Sabah and Sarawak last year had resulted in the loss of an estimated RM698.8mil in domestic tourist revenue.
Dawos agreed with Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) that the cancellation of flights to destinations in the Middle East and Europe had also impacted tourist arrivals. According to Dawos, the cancellation of flights to Dubai had caused the number of tourist arrivals from the United Arab Emirates and Europe to drop by 5.6% and 3% respectively in comparison to tourist arrivals from both destinations in 2010 and last year.
He said the Government had given the airlines sufficient time to carry out their rationalisation plans, including allowing third-party airlines to assume the cancelled routes. Dawos said his ministry was aware of the need to streamline the industry adding that the Government would find ways to initiate talks with other airlines.