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By Ling Hui
KUCHING, May 25: Orang utan sanctuary Semenggoh Nature Reserve in Siburan has seen a stark increase of 531.7 per cent in visitors for January to April 2022 compared to last year.
Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said for January to April 2021, the nature reserve received only 1,813 visitors, but for the corresponding period in 2022, the number rose to 11,453.
Bako National Park, which is famous for its proboscis monkeys and jungle trails, also showed significant improvement in ticket sales, with a 248.9 per cent increase in visitors.
From January to April 2021, the park welcomed 1,023 tourists, while for the corresponding period in 2022, a total of 3,569 individuals visited the park.
Abdul Karim said the increased popularity in Sarawak’s national parks can be observed following the reopening of Sarawak’s borders and restarting of the tourism industry.
Looking at the bigger picture, he said, visitor arrivals in Sarawak overall increased by 574.35 per cent to 310,064 compared to the corresponding period in 2021.
Prior to that, he said, visitor arrivals had plunged 80 per cent from 1,176,225 in 2020 to only 235,245 in 2021, and tourism receipts declined 81 per cent to RM536.17 million in 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and various lockdowns.
“In 2022, Sarawak is optimistic to receive 1.2 million visitors and generate RM3.2 billion in tourism receipts.
“While international tourism slowly bounces back, domestic tourism will continue to drive the recovery of Sarawak’s tourism industry,” said Abdul Karim during his ministerial winding-up speech at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today. — DayakDaily