KUCHING, Sept 26 — The number tourist arrivals in Sarawak had dropped by about 86 per cent in August this year, as a result of the policies that were implemented to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
Abdul Karim noted that Sarawak only recorded tourist arrivals of 44,156 in August this year compared with 338,130 arrivals recorded in the same period last year.
“Normally July and August are the months we will received many tourists but it was not the case this year.
“We see a drop of 86.94 per cent just for August alone,” he told reporters after witnessing the transportation of a burial pole, kelidieng, belong to the Melanau at the Sarawak Museun Complex compound here today.
Abdul Karim said overall, the total number of tourist arrivals in Sarawak had dropped by about 62 per cent, as the state only receive a total of about 1.1 million tourist arrivals from January to August this year compared with about 2.9 million visitor arrivals recorded over the same period last year.
However, he said his ministry would not be disheartened by the the sharp decline in the tourist arrivals.
“We will not be disheartened because we know we are facing the Covid-19 problem.
“And this problem is not just confined to Sarawak, but all the countries in the world are facing the same problem, experiencing the drop in visitor arrivals,” he added.
Abdul Karim said the ministry is looking forward to next year with optimism given that several new products, which include the new museum complex and tourism-related development projects that are being implement at Kuching Waterfront would be completed.
He noted that Sarawak will also be starting its centre of performing arts next year.
“So everything will be in place next year. So 2021 and 2022, we will be able to see a lot more visitors coming to Sarawak.
“In the meantime, we encourage local residents from Sarawak, since there are not many visitors from outside, to take advantage of the local packages under our promotion programmes.
“Not only are they cheap, but it also will enable you to at least know our own culture and tourism products that are available around you,” he said.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee and Sarawak Museum Department acting director Tazudin Mohtar were also present at the press conference. — Borneo Post