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KUCHING, Nov 13 — Sarawak’s tourism sector is expected to slowly recover in 2021, anticipating a total of 1.4 million in visitors’ arrival with estimated tourism receipt of RM3.5 billion, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he said from January to October this year the visitors’ arrival to the state had dropped 68.8 per cent to 1.17 million, as compared to the corresponding period in 2019 at 3.76 million.
“The tourism receipt has declined 69.8 per cent to RM 2.82 billion as compare to the same corresponding period in 2019 (RM9.34 billion).
“By end of year 2020, Sarawak projects an estimated visitors’ arrival of 1.2 million which is a decline of 76 per cent from the initial target of 5 million before the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said in his winding speech at State Legislative Assembly (DUN) here today.
In response to this, Awang Tengah said the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MTAC) had taken various measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and to help the tourism industry to recover.
One of the measures, he added, was the ‘Sia Sitok Sarawak’ intra-state travel campaign initiated by Sarawak Tourism Board (STB).
“The campaign is also part of Sarawak Tourism’s stimulus measures to give a boost to the local tourism industry ad a good way of sustaining and maintaining the tourism eco-system for the industry players such as tourists and park guides, drivers, operators, retail, handicraft and restaurants during these challenging times,” he added.
In supporting the revival of tourism in the state, he said the Visitor Incentives Package (VIP) was created for inter-state travel to provide the state travel agencies or tour operators with support for bringing in domestic and international visitors to the state.
For business events industry, the ministry through Sarawak Convention Bureau also offers support packages covering a wider range of claimable items, Delegate Wellness Pack, sponsored half-day city tours to aid delegate boosting, costs of virtual platforms for hybrid events and greater flexibility with achievement target.
“During this low season of visitors’ arrival, MTAC has continued to invest timely on the upskilling and continuous capacity building of the tourism industry.This include Regional Specific Tourist Guides (RSTG) courses, e-Tourism (e-Pelancongan) courses, online ecosystem fund and tribe digital campus.
“Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, MTAC continues to support domestic events with watchful eyes on the necessary SOPs. This helps the local industry to sustain through this difficult time,” he added. — Borneo Post Online