As tourism outlook improves, Sarawak targets 3 mln tourists, RM7.25 bln in tourism receipts in 2023

Abdul Karim delivering his winding-up speech at the DUN sitting today (Nov 30, 2022). Screenshot taken from a Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas) Facebook livestream.

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By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Nov 30: The Ministry for Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts (MTCP) Sarawak aims to attract three million visitors and generate RM7.25 billion in tourism receipts by 2023.

MTCP minister Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the target is based on the performance and trends of the tourism industry in recent months in 2022.

“While international tourism slowly bounces back, domestic tourism will continue to drive the recovery of the State’s tourism industry,” Abdul Karim said in his ministerial winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today.

He disclosed Sarawak is expected to receive 1.8 million visitors by the end of 2022, exceeding the initial target of 1.2 million.

“Tourist arrivals in Malaysia increased to 3.21 million from January to July of this year as compared to the same corresponding period in 2021 and generated RM9.35 billion in tourism revenue.

“From January to October this year, visitor arrivals in Sarawak increased by 1,118.41 per cent to 1,378,017 as compared to the same corresponding period in 2021.

“We are confident that Sarawak will receive an estimated 1.8 million visitors by the end of the year surpassing our target of 1.2 million visitors for 2022,” he revealed.

He went on to say that, following an unprecedented drop in 2020 and 2021, international tourism is expected to gradually recover in 2022, as an increasing number of destinations ease or lift travel restrictions and travellers’ confidence returns.

Furthermore, he stated, the federal government has implemented a few grant applications this year for industry players from various sectors and backgrounds with the goal of reviving and revitalising the tourism, arts, and culture sectors which have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Among others, this covers a series of matching grants in 2022 which include Geran Sepadan Sektor Pelancongan (GSSP), Geran Sepadan Sektor Kebudayaan (GSSK), Geran Padanan Bagi Tujuan Pembaikan Inap Desa, and Geran Padanan Bagi Tujuan Pembaikan Kepada Hotel Budget,” he said.

Abdul Karim also emphasised that a total of RM 4,949,728 has been allocated to 348 Sarawak tourism, arts, and culture industry players as of today.

He pointed out the Sarawak government has implemented nine assistance packages, BKSS 1.0 to BKSS 9.0, with 35 measures costing RM6.7 billion to mitigate the effects of Covid-19.

“A total of RM1.68 million was allocated through BKSS 3.0 and BKSS 6.0 to Sarawak tourism industry players.

“RM396,000 was disbursed under BKSS 3.0 to 264 tour guides and park guides. Under BKSS 6.0, RM246,000 was disbursed to 164 tour guides, RM178,500 to 119 park guides, RM41,000 to 82 tourist bus drivers, RM342,000 to 570 homestay operators and RM483,000 to 161 travel agencies,” he added. — DayakDaily