By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Aug 10: Sarawak has no plans yet to increase ticket prices to enter tourism attractions and spots in the State not only because the tourism industry has bounced back, but it wants to allow travellers to have fun after being grounded for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said this when responding to a question on whether Sarawak will follow in the footsteps of Indonesia which has increased ticket prices to enter its attractions, like Komodo Island.
“Perhaps Indonesia increased the ticket prices as they want to recover fast from the loss of tourism income in the past two years.
“On our part, we want to be fair to visitors, be it foreigners or Malaysians. There are strong desires to travel again especially after over two years of the pandemic, we want people to have some fun and enjoy Sarawak at a minimal rate,” he told a press conference after briefing media about the Borneo Music Festival Live 2022 at a hotel here today.
While Sarawak will consider increasing tticket prices when the time comes and needs arise, Abdul Karim said at the present moment, they are still able to manage and upkeep the facilities of tourism attractions at the current rate it is charging.
“We have been very sympathetic with tickets to enter Borneo Cultures Museum that have been priced reasonably. I have not received any complaints that the ticket price was too high.
“I also know that all the tourism and travel packages were offered at a low price especially through a series of SiaSitok campaigns in the past two years,” he elaborated.
The Sarawak government, Abdul Karim pointed out, has subsidised half of the cost of the tourism packages being rolled out as it saw people’s desires to enjoy themselves when the pandemic hit home.
“Even those under quarantine get to stay in five-star hotels. The government paid for it where no other States in Malaysia were doing so. I hope Sarawakians will appreciate that when the election comes.
“I am not trying to ‘angkat bakul’ (boast), but all those who have visited the Sarawak Cultural Village and especially the Borneo Cultures Museum, have given positive remarks,” he added.
Even on the first day when the Borneo Cultures Museum started charging a fee on Aug 1, Abdul Karim said he was surprised that it received 700 visitors, with RM10,000 collected from ticket sales.
“The average (sales made by Borneo Cultures Museum) now is RM10,000 per day. This is good for us as it signals that the tourism industry is bouncing back,” he said.
With 703,891 visitors recorded in the first seven months of this year, he expressed confidence that Sarawak will meet or even beat the target of 1.2 million visitor arrivals by year end.
“We are on track to reach our target this year which will generate around RM3.2 billion in tourism receipts,” he added. — DayakDaily