Sarawak to apply for RM100m aid from Putrajaya to revive tourism industry

Abdul Karim said the state government will identify potential tourism products and propose them to the federal government. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Abdul Karim said the state government will identify potential tourism products and propose them to the federal government. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Sept 9 — The state government will apply for a federal government allocation of RM100 million to revive the tourism industry.

State Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said he welcomed the suggestion from his federal counterpart Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

“The state government will apply for the RM100 million allocation as suggested, after considering the needs of state tourism development at a number of divisions identified by MPs and state assembly members,” he said in a statement on Monday.

On Saturday, Nancy — who is federal Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister — said the state would require RM100 million to revitalise its tourism sector, given that Sarawak only received RM5 million in tourism tax revenue last year.

Abdul Karim said the allocation was not substantial considering the state’s huge landmass compared with other states, where many potential tourism destinations could be found in Sarawak’s divisions.

He said the state government would also identify potential tourism products and propose them to the federal government.

“Among the products to be proposed are historical places such as Santubong Archaeological Park and Wallace Centre in Santubong, Kuching, and also those at other divisions such as Sibu, Miri, Bintulu, Limbang, and others,” he said.

Abdul Karim pointed out the allocation is critical for the development of the local tourism industry as the Covid-19 pandemic had a devastating impact, forcing many tourists to cancel plans to visit the state.

“The number of tourists visiting the state reduced drastically due to the Covid-19 pandemic and many of those employed in the tourism sector had to shoulder losses throughout the Movement Control Order, which has been extended till the year’s end,” he said.

Abdul Karim said he is grateful to the federal government for returning 50 per cent of the tourism tax revenue collected for 2019, amounting to RM5 million, back to the state.

“For now, the state tourism industry can still survive the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic due to contributions and assistance provided by both state and federal governments,” he said.

He also urged those involved in the state tourism sector to persevere and carry out promotions for their tourism products through various platforms such as via social media to attract tourists. — Borneo Post

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