Lahad Datu needs new airport to boost its tourism potential

KOTA KINABALU (Bernama) – Lahad Datu, which is 403km from Kota Kinabalu, is in need of a new and bigger airport to boost its tourism potential, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said.

He said this was because the existing airport could only accommodate and manage the operations of small aircrafts, such as the ATR and Fokker.

“A lot needs to be done (to boost the tourism potential) in Lahad Datu. The runway at the existing airport, for example, can only accommodate small aircrafts.

“I am proposing for the construction of a new airport to accommodate bigger aircraft which will bring in more tourists to Lahad Datu,” he told reporters after being interviewed on SabahFM radio yesterday.

The Minister said Lahad Datu has numerous spots with vast potential to be turned into tourist destinations in Sabah, including the Danum Valley, the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, and the latest discovery of the iconic scuba diving known as the ‘Blue Hole’ or the ‘Blue Ring Reef’ at the pristine Darvel Bay.

“We will definitely promote Lahad Datu and those interesting places to be visited there,” he said.

In another development, Mohamaddin said the ongoing Borneo Textile Craft Festival at the Suria Sabah shopping centre targetted sales of over RM500,000 with the participation of 87 textile craftpreneurs from Sabah and Sarawak.

He said the 10-day festival, which began yesterday, is a platform to showcase the talents of young textile craftpreneurs from the two states, and to expand their marketing networks.