By William Isau
SIBU, June 24: Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah expects tourism receipt for Sarawak to reach RM1 billion this year.
Speaking to reporters after the launch of the Borneo Tribal Music Festival (BTMF), the Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts said for the first five months of this year, there were 429,150 visitors which is an increase of more than 600 per cent as compared to 56,278 for the same period last year.
For domestic arrivals which included visitors from West Malaysia and Sabah, it was an increase of 738 per cent for the same period of time as compared to 2021. From January to May this year, the number was 395,742 as compared to 47,170 last year.
“In term of tourism receipt, we recorded RM120 million last year. This year it is expected to amount to RM1 billion,” said Abdul Karim.
Earlier when launching the BTFM, he said it was about time for Sibu and the Central Region to stake their claim on a music festival such as the Rainforest World Music Festival in Kuching and the Borneo Jazz Festival in Miri.
Believing that BTFM could become a premier music festival in the central Region, he said the success of making BTFM a signature event like RWMF and BJF depended much on the organiser and those who support the event like music lovers.
“I am very very sure the event ‘boleh meletup’. My ministry will always support it for this year, for next year and the years beyond,” he said.
In congratulating the organiser, La Vie Event and Management, Abdul Karim was delighted that Sibu has come up with another home-grown event.
“As the Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts, I am certainly pleased to see another potential signature event besides the Borneo Cultural Festival, Sibu International Dance Festival and Sibu International Base Jump.
“Instead of just waiting for something to happen, this group of young people has stepped forward to take the lead. This is what I would like to see happening in every region in Sarawak,” he said.
The inaugural BTMF which will be held from September 23 to 24 at the Rajang Esplanade will feature 10 performances staged by local artists together with those from Indonesia and Vietnam. — DayakDaily