By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, Nov 12: The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has been urged to disbursed the tourism tax amounting to RM439,731 to Sarawak.
In making the call, state Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the amount represented Sarawak’s share of tourism tax collected between Sept to Dec last year.
“In the last State Assembly sitting in July this year, I reported that the federal government has informed my office about the disbursement of Sarawak’s share of tourism tax collected.
“However, to date, we have not received the said amount, including those due to us for 2018,” Abdul Karim said in his winding-up speech today.
However, he said the state government applauded the continuation of tourism tax in the 2019 federal budget, which maintained that 50 per cent of the total tourism tax collected by the federal government would be given to the state.
“We hope the federal ministry will quickly channel the overall amount that is due to us, which to date the total tourism tax collected till Sept 2018 is RM4,653,302,” he added.
It meant the state should receive RM2,326,651, and Abdul Karim said the substantial amount would be used for organising tourism-related programmes and initiatives.
Meanwhile, the state recorded 3,230,201 tourist arrivals in the first nine months of this year. There are indications of a 13.27 per cent decrease compared to the corresponding period in 2017.
Abdul Karim said the top five sources of visitors were Brunei (1,008,156), Indonesia (312,307), Philippines (43,688), China (34,102) and Singapore (33,326).
Brunei, Indonesia and Philippines recorded negative 25.9 per cent, 21.8 per cent and 16.7 per cent respectively.
For China, he said there was an encouraging increase of 15.7 per cent compared to the same period in 2017.
“This is attributed to the Kuching-Shenzhen direct flight and marketing campaigns for the China market.
“For Singapore, there is an increase of 10.8 per cent due to the aggressive marketing campaign and the availability of more than 600 seats daily offered by Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Scoot Airlines,” he said. — DayakDaily