28th September, 2009
Multiclients Travels staff serving customers at their exhibition booth.
KOTA KINABALU: The Saranghaeyo Korea Festival, meaning ‘love’, had a happy ending for local tour operators yesterday from the brisk business they enjoyed during the three-day affair.
A random survey of tour operators that put up exhibition booths at the central atrium of 1Borneo saw on average, travel agents receiving 200 bookings per day from Sept 25-27.
The festival which also featured folk dance performances by Korea House and hip-hop breakdancing group B-Boys was launched on the evening of Sept 24 by Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.
Besides the performances, visitors also had a chance to learn more about the Republic of Korea through cuisine, products and electrical goods exhibited at the central atrium.
There were five local tour operators that took part in the exhibition to promote tour packages to Korea, one of which was Multiclients Travels Sdn Bhd, based at Karamunsing complex.
Its tour manager Sheila Chong when met yesterday said that the carnival brought here by the Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) helped the local tour operators in terms of getting bookings due largely to the special offers.
According to her, Korean Airlines and Aseana Airlines which fly twice weekly from Kota Kinabalu to Korea gave tour operators a special discount of up to RM400 from Sep-Nov 20.
“So, I think holidaymakers are taking advantage of this first ever offer given by both the airliners. Our company has a lot of excursion packages on offer now for sightseers to Korea,” she said adding that it was the first event of its kind organised by KTO.
“Our tour packages range from six to eight days. I think given the many attractions in Korea, this is one of the cheapest and nearest destination we can afford to visit, especially Sabahans,” she said adding that now is also the best time to visit Korea because autumn is approaching.
On average, she said some 800 local tourists visit Korea per week especially from Nov-Feb as most of them want to enjoy the festive season there particularly the Lunar New Year celebration.
In return, a lot of Koreans visit Sabah too with an average of 3,000-5,000 every month. Most of them come in groups to enjoy golf and scuba diving which is relatively cheaper for them to do here.
She said Koreans who spend their holidays here will also feel at home because there are now quite a number of Korean restaurants and karaoke lounges in town.
There are also few Koreans residing in Sabah with a population of between 1,800 to 2,000.
She hoped the festival will be held here again next year and turned into an annual event as it certainly helped the tour operators to boost their sales.