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KUCHING, Feb 2 — Foreign and domestic tourist arrivals in Sarawak last year dropped by 74.2 per cent compared with 2019 following the Covid-19 pandemic, said state Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
He said Sarawak received only 1.99 million tourists last year compared with 4.62 million tourists the year before.
“Foreign tourist arrivals totalled only 363,304 compared with 2,082,444 in 2019, a reduction of 82.55 per cent.
“During the same period, the number of domestic tourists shrank to 836,568 compared with 2,579,975 the year before, a decline of 65.67 per cent,” he said after attending the Journal of Responsible Tourism Management forum here today.
Abdul Karim said as a result, the state’s tourism receipts dropped 75.12 per cent to RM2.88 billion from RM11.57 billion in 2019.
To ensure that the tourism sector is not paralysed, he said, it is vital for the state government to promote domestic tourism products through various campaigns and cooperate with industry players to solve the current problems together.
“Although Malaysians can’t travel between states, Sarawakians can still enjoy the tourism products in the state, and this will help the tourism sector in the state to survive,” he said.
Last year, Sarawak launched the “Sia Sitok Sarawak” campaign to enable Sarawakians and non-Sarawakians who have working permits to enjoy the tourism products in the state with discounted packages of up to 50 per cent. — Bernama