| Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

KUCHING, SARAWAK, 6th October 2022 – Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) officially launched the Kuching Umrah Gateway (KUG) initiative today. This initiative will provide direct flights to Jeddah and Medina in the Southeast Asia region.

The KUG initiative is a collaborative effort between Sarawak Tourism Board and ATS Global Travel & Charter Sdn Bhd that will establish flight connectivity between the Middle East and Sarawak.

The initiative aims to boost Sarawak tourism industry by opening up to new markets and position Kuching as stopover point for Umrah travellers including from the nearby countries such Kalimantan, Brunei and Southern Philippines which makes up of over 30 million Muslim population in total.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed between Sarawak Tourism Board and ATS Global Travel & Charter and witnessed by YB Dato Sri Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Sarawak (MTCP), Mr Hii Chang Kee, Permanent Secretary of MTCP and Dato’ A. Aziz Bin Ahmad, Chairman of ATS Global Travel & Charter Sdn Bhd.

“We are confident that with Kuching being an Umrah Hub, it will further enhance Sarawak’s tourism economy by creating more job opportunities, increasing tourist spending while benefitting the eatery outlets and retails sectors. Other sectors that would also benefit from this initiative include hotels, homestays, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transport services,” said Abdul Karim.

“With a projection of over 230,000 visitor arrivals within six years through KUG, I strongly believe that this is an urgent call for Malaysia Airports Berhad (MAB) to look into expanding KIA (Kuching International Airport) to meet the growing demand of visitors’ traffic,” he added.

Dato A. Aziz Ahmad, Chairman of ATS Global Travel & Charter Sdn Bhd said “ATS is happy to support in bringing the vision of the Sarawak government to turn Kuching as an Umrah gateway hub that will attract more visitor arrivals to Sarawak. Sarawak offers a lot of potential new tourism products to be showcased to the world which is eager to travel and looking for off the beaten tracks destination to explore in Southeast Asia.”

The special charter flight is expected to commence sometime in December and the feeder flights will be arranged by ATS from Pontianak, Balikpapan, Banjarmasin, Samarinda, Ujung Padang (Makassar), Jakarta and Mindanao to support the main line operations of the Umrah flight carriers

Visitors under the KUG initiative will also be able to enjoy a variety of pre- and post-Umrah tour packages specially curated to cater to the interests and needs of the new passengers. The pre or post tours will be together with the Umrah flights and will be made available via a dedicated platform on www.kug.travel.

For more information about Sarawak, log on to www.chinese.sarawaktourism.com


STB Chairman & ATS MOA Exchange