BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/Asia News Network): Sarawak is looking forward to the re-opening of its border with Brunei Darussalam to reboot the state’s tourism industry, said Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Assistant Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting, the Borneo Post reported.
This will be the way forward along with domestic tourism, which can begin again thanks to the scrapping of police permits for interstate travel from Monday this week.
“Sarawak will consider opening borders with Brunei Darussalam, which managed to maintain a low record of infection and has the virus kept under control,” he said on the state’s tourism revival plan.
“My ministry will continue to bring in more Bruneians into Sarawak leveraging on the BIMP-Eaga platform and future Statos (Sarawak trade and tourism) office in Brunei.”
Ting said the Tourism Ministry would keep a close eye on all stakeholders to ensure compliance with stipulated standard operating procedures (SOPs) and regulations, including improving ventilation.
In 2019, Sarawak recorded 1,296,017 Bruneian visitors, who generated estimated tourism receipts of RM3.63 billion, contributing to 2.74 per cent to the state’s total gross domestic product (GDP).
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 which closed borders, Sarawak recorded 180,616 Bruneian visitors.
As a result, the tourism industry, particularly in the border towns of Lawas, Limbang, and Miri, suffered as revenue dried up, causing some to shut down permanently.