MIRI: The local tourism sector may lose more than RM5mil once MASwings cuts down its number of flights to Mulu National Park.
Piasau assemblyman Datuk Sebastian Ting said Sarawak Tourism Federation expressed its worries over the tourism outlook after receiving information from MASwings that flight frequencies to the Mulu National Park will be reduced starting January next year.
“The federation has expressed its concern over the impending impact to tourism in Mulu and Sarawak.
“Mulu National Park is a world heritage site and has the largest cave in the world as well as numerous natural assets not found anywhere else.
“Mulu is the tourism crown jewel of Sarawak as it attracts tourists from all over the world,” he said, adding that the federation estimated that at least RM5mil in direct revenue would be lost once flights to Mulu were reduced.
He expressed concern that other related industries such as food, cottage, hotel and homestay industries would be badly affected as well.
“The impact will not only be felt in Mulu but also Kuching, Miri and other places too,” he told The Star.
Ting said if the flight reductions cannot be avoided, then the state government must start looking into alternative modes of transport into Mulu by land.
There is an urgent need to construct a road from Miri to the Mulu National Park outskirts to enable tourists to reach Mulu.
“Foreign tourists may not have the luxury to wait for days just to secure a flight to Mulu.
“They must be able to use land transport to the area.
“If the state government is worried that building roads to Mulu will impact the ecosystem then build a road until the fringes of Mulu National Park and not into the park itself,” he said, adding that there would be no roads inside the park area, only footpaths and rivers.
“The pristine natural environment will still be preserved,” Ting stressed.
He said he would bring this topic up at the state assembly sitting next month.