After 65 percent drop in arrivals, Sarawak expects to bounce back

By TIN Media | Sarawak Published 1 year ago on 6 November 2020
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Tourist arrivals in Sarawak plunged 65% in the first nine months of the year but the state is optimistic they will pick up in the second half of 2021.

Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the state recorded 1.15 million visitors from January to September.

He said although there were 4.66 million visitors last year, Sarawak had projected only 1.4 million tourists this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We need to be realistic with our target this year due to travel restrictions and entry SOPs while borders remain closed, but we are optimistic there will be more tourists coming in next year,” he said.

Karim said that instead of promoting the theme “Sarawak More to Discover”, which was initially planned to target visitors from other states and overseas, the ministry had launched the “Sia-Sitok Sarawak” domestic tour packages.

“We want to encourage Sarawakians to choose their homeland as a preferred holiday destination. The campaign has generated about RM700,000 in sales and the number is growing as we have extended the campaign till the end of the year,” he said

Karim said the ministry and its agencies would focus on enhancing the knowledge, skills and attitudes of tourism industry operators, frontliners and local communities to prepare them for the return of tourists after the pandemic blows over.

He said local groups would be given assistance to take part in community-based tourism activities such as homestays, and producing and selling traditional food, handicraft and souvenirs.

Last year, a total of RM4.48 million homestay receipts were generated by 44 registered homestay areas in Sarawak.

“We plan to increase the number of homestay areas from 44 to 60 by 2030, and help them to increase their average annual household income of RM8,401 to RM13,700 per homestay operator,” he said.


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