Sarawak tourism surges: 438,950 visitor arrivals, RM1.14 bln in tourism receipts in March 2024

Abdul Karim (right) speaking to reporters during the press conference on Sarawak's participation in IMEX Frankfurt 2024 at Baitul Makmur II Building in Kuching on April 17, 2024. Next to him is Snowdan.

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, April 17: Sarawak Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts (MTCP) Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has revealed that Sarawak recorded 438,950 visitor arrivals in March this year, a growth of 35.50 per cent compared to the same period last year when the number was 323,960.

According to Abdul Karim, Sarawak received 287,171 foreign visitors in March 2024, up 70.30 per cent compared to 168,627 recorded in the same period last year.

“Domestic visitors decreased slightly, as they did in February 2024. There are now more foreigners in Sarawak.

“In March 2024, Sarawak received 151,779 domestic visitors. Sarawak had 155,333 domestic visitors in March 2023. So there is a slight decrease of 2.29 per cent,” he told reporters during a press conference today at Baitul Makmur II Building here.

The minister disclosed Sarawak tourism receipts for March 2024 totalled RM1.14 billion, compared to RM817.75 million for the same period last year.

Abdul Karim also revealed that the latest figures showed Sarawak’s visitor arrivals reached 1.2 million in the first three months of this year, while tourism receipts totaled RM3.07 billion.

“This is something to be very proud of. We’re on track. Based on previous experience, the number of visitors will continue to rise after June, so we anticipate reaching the 4 million target in September,” he remarked.

Furthermore, the minister stated that Brunei accounted for the most tourists, with 206,273 visitors in March 2024 alone, a significant increase from 103,000 in March 2023.

“Even though they are part of Borneo, they come down here to the market, to buy, as tourists,” he explained.

He also identified the highest number of visitors as from Brunei, Indonesia, China, and Singapore, with nearly equal numbers from China and Singapore (around 5,900 and 5,500, respectively), and 46,284 Indonesian visitors recorded in March 2024.

On another note, concerning the potential impact of the Middle East conflict on tourism, Abdul Karim expressed his hope that any effect would be minimal.

“Normally, at any one time in a year, there’s bound to be a war somewhere. Whether it’s going to have a very big impact on us, that depends if it affects the flight routes.

“Of course, there will be impact on the oil prices of those countries at war. Whether it will have a big impact (on tourism), we will see,” he added.

Also present was Deputy Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Datuk Snowdan Lawan. — DayakDaily