By Jaythaleela K
MIRI, Dec 11: Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah is confident that Sarawak tourism will thrive next year.
He said tourism has been one of the State’s most important sources of employment and revenue.
However the onset of Covid-19 crisis early this year saw Sarawak registering only 1.1 million tourist arrivals for the period of January until November, a decreased of 71.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.
Sarawak received 4.1 million tourist arrivals during the same period last year and the drastic decrease this year due to Covid-19 is a big dilemma for the state’s tourism industry.
“Since the inbound travel ban began somewhere in March, Sarawak faced the unprecedented experience of having no international tourists.
“We hope Covid-19 pandemic will be over as soon as possible so that our tourism industry can flourish again, and that is why, for the past two days, we are organising this Tourism Awareness programme as a platform to prepare our tourism players in the aftermath of Covid-19 crisis.
“For the month of November this year (2020) Sarawak recorded 13,362 tourist arrivals as compared to 412,939 last November (2019) and this is a 95.76 per cent drop,” he pointed out.
Karim, however, is optimistic the State’s tourism industry will thrive next year.
He disclosed this when met at the closing of the two-day Tourism Awareness programme held at Dewan SJK(C) Kee Tee in Long Lama today (Friday).
Touching on the programme, Karim strongly believed that it would help the local community to explore the travel and tourism sector.
“Local community involvement is crucial in promoting places of interest within their areas,” he said.
He added that Telang Usan has a huge potential in the tourism industry, providing opportunities outside the big cities.
“Giving the fact that this place has its beautiful cultural and natural heritage all around,” he pointed out.
Also present at the programme was Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting and Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau who is also chairman of the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB). — DayakDaily