By Peter Sibon
SERIAN, Dec 28: Sarawak now recorded more tourists from other countries than ‘traditional’ countries such as Brunei and Indonesia.
Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youths and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah revealed that apart from these two countries, the number of tourists from other Southeast Asia (Asean) countries have also increased.
“The beauty about this year is that we have more tourists from Singapore, China and other Asean countries. Before, it was mostly from Brunei and Indonesia,” he told reporters after leading a motorcycle convoy from Kota Samarahan to Tasik Danu here today.
Even though Sarawak could not reach its five million tourist arrivals this year, Abdul Karim however said that tourism players were happy to note an overall increase compared to last year’s statistics.
“The feelings on the ground are positive as we were able to introduce many events. These events will continue on to next year. And we do hope that there will be many more events, whether it’s sports, medical-related, conferences and musical.
“We might not be able to reach the five million target like Wawasan (Vision) 2020. When a target is set, those in the tourism industry will work towards that number. (So), even though we can’t reach it, it’s still ok. At least everybody (tourism players) are happy. I think we almost reached the target,” he added.
He emphasised that Sarawak will continue to set the five million tourist arrivals target for next year. Last year, Sarawak recorded 4.3 million tourist arrivals.
On a related issue, Abdul Karim said, he was not aware that Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV), which is under Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), has increased the entrance fees.
However, he hoped that the fees would not be burdensome to both the local and foreign tourists.
Meanwhile, Abdul Karim was glad that more than 200 motorcycle enthusiasts took part in today’s event which started from a petrol station in Kota Samarahan and ended at Kampung Sorak Melayu here for a durian feast.
“This is a good show of comradeship among bikers of different clubs, be they small or high-powered bikes,” he said.
The ‘Serian Durian Ride’ event was organised by the Sarawak Motorcycles’ Association (SAMA) which has 4,600 members.
SAMA president Datin Seri Elly Zalilah and her husband Datuk Seri Sharizal Mohd Ishak also took part in the programme.— DayakDaily