Sarawak eyeing RM7.25bil from tourism next year


State Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (centre) looking through his winding up speech with deputy ministers Datuk Sebastian Ting (second left), Datuk Gerald Rentap Jabu (second right) and Ripin Lamat (right) and the ministry's permanent secretary Datuk Hii Chang Kee (left) at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly on Wednesday (Nov 30). - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KUCHING: Sarawak is targeting three million visitor arrivals next year as international tourism continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

State Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the visitors were expected to generate RM7.25bil in tourism receipts.

"While international tourism slowly bounces back, domestic tourism will continue to drive the recovery of the industry," he told the Sarawak Legislative Assembly when winding up matters related to his ministry on Wednesday (Nov 30).

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Karim also said Sarawak was confident of receiving 1.8 million visitors by the end of this year, surpassing its initial target of 1.2 million arrivals.

He said the state recorded 1.38 million visitors from January to October, an increase of over 1,000% compared to the same period last year.

"With the lifting of travel restrictions, the tourism, arts and culture industry is finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

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"My ministry will be executing strategic long-term action plans to reactivate and build a more resilient tourism industry post-Covid-19," he said.

Karim also said four main tourism strategies have been identified, namely: enhancing travel to and within Sarawak; developing Sarawak tourism products; positioning Sarawak as a preferred tourism destination; and improving human capital capacity and capability.

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In addition, he said the state was implementing a tourism master plan from 2021 to 2035 to spur immediate and long-term recovery from the impact of Covid-19.

"The plan aims to increase the number of visitors to Sarawak from a baseline of 4.6 million visitors and RM11.6bil in tourism receipts in 2019 to 12.7 million visitors contributing economic returns of RM50bil by 2035," he said.

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