Press Release

Borneo Tours forms an integral part of tourism in Sarawak
November 8, 2012, Thursday

KUCHING: With a paid-up capital of just four figures 37 years back, Borneo Tours Sdn Bhd (Borneo Tours) has emerged as a premium tour operator worth more than a million ringgit in market capitalisation with a strong portfolio of clients.

The Sarawak-based company commenced its humble beginnings in 1975 with four partners of which George Yee is the only remaining co-founder and also the managing director for the group at present.

With a treasure trove of experience and a wealth of management expertise, the tour operator has over the years brought prominence to Sarawak with its premium packages that have captured the interest of Kuchingites.

According to Yee, the company is now handling between 10,000 and 15,000 premium visitors annually focusing on the medium- to high-end market, chartering exclusive flights to destinations where other existing airlines have no routes.

It also has a record of being the first tour operator from East Malaysia to charter a flight from AirAsia when it first started with two aircraft ten years back, flying the Kuala Lumpur-Kuching-Subic Bay (the Philippines) route.

Aided by years of experience, Borneo Tours has managed to expand and diversify its business operations to West Malaysia in year 2000. It currently has a total of three branches for the convenience of customers operating in the Klang Valley located at Petaling Jaya, Kelana Jaya and Subang Jaya.

“We started as an inbound tour operator mainly focusing on the European market in the 70s and soon, became active in outbound tours to the Philippines, Taiwan and the Hong Kong markets in the 80s,” he told The Borneo Post in an exclusive interview.

Since then, the company has gained wide reputation in the industry as Yee has been appointed as the only representative from East Malaysia for well-known resorts and casinos in the US, Europe as well as the Southeast Asian countries.

The group has consistently been garnering awards that include ‘Top Performing Agents’ from its strong client portfolio including Genting Highlands Resort Malaysia, Resort World Sentosa Singapore and Star Cruise Holidays in East Malaysia.

In concurance with its endeavour to continuously seek and venture into new areas that are synergistic with its ongoing operations, the group has also ventured into the Malaysia My Second Home Programme through its subsidiary Borneo Dreamland MM2H Sdn Bhd.

“We are targeting foreign applicants from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and China who have extra cash to invest in East Malaysia properties, while having their holidays here. This is all part and parcel of our inbound components and at the same time, promoting the property deal through our tour packages,” Yee highlighted.

Director of sales and marketing Kho Sze Min commented that Borneo Tours was slowly gearing towards the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) market, which he believed would see more tourist coming in from China and Hong Kong in the near future.

“We are focusing on the orient market because Sarawak has a lot to offer in terms of culture, adventure and nature, and we hope to get a series of tourist arrivals coming in from countries like Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Australia as well as Vietnam and the Middle East,” he added.

Its demographic graphs showed that the inbound and outbound traffic represented 40 per cent of its total business, while ticketing sales took up 40 per cent and the remaining was generated from incentives, hotel bookings, cruise bookings and so forth.

Kho further pointed out that Borneo Tours would be concentrating on inbound tourism to promote Sarawak as the first destination in the next five years. “We will be investing heavily overseas in terms of advertisements and sales, while taking a step further by improving our internet booking experiences.”

The group recently added another feather to its cap through a co-branding agreement with, a Singaporean public listed premier travel online service provider in Asia that has clocked a massive average of 100,000 room nights per month for the past five years.

The strategic alliance has catapulted the group further and has opened up additional instant global businesses that can be pursued.

Addressing the current issues in the industry, Yee said, while the tourism sector might be influenced by government, it is essentially a private sector driven industry.

“Tourism has a role in a greater number of developing countries than ever before. It can be a vital source for development by stimulating economic growth and employment in the state,” he explained.

He suggested that the private sector’s involvement should be in the ‘planning and drafting’ of the state tourism masterplan. “It would be great if the state government can get a few of the tour operators to be committee members in deciding where the industry is heading going forward.”

Apart from that, Yee also pointed out the airline linkages in Sarawak should be given top priority, MASwings had already taken the lead to serve the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) routes.

“It’s high-time for Sarawak to make the move forward. We have a lot of potential to be the next tourist destination after Kuala Lumpur if the state government can encourage a two-way traffic between the BIMP-EAGA regions,” he added.

Within the Greater Asia region, Yee said Kuching-Shenzhen route would be a great move as Shenzhen was a gateway to the whole of China. He was also looking at Kuching-Manila and Kuching-Bangkok route, which could also generate two-way traffic for the state.

“Strong connections between the government and the private sector can led to creating ‘wonders’ in the tourism industry,” Yee concluded.

Source : The Borneo Post Online


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