KUCHING, Nov 28 — The Sarawak government believes it can net four million tourist arrivals next year, having surpassed its initial post-Covid target of three million visitors last month.

State Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said Sarawak recorded a total of 3.18 million visitors who generated RM7.6 billion in revenue for the first 10 months of this year alone.

“The tourism receipts stood at RM8.07 billion, an increase of 143.81 per cent, which contributed about 5.75 per cent to Sarawak's gross domestic products,” he said in his winding-up speech in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly today.

He said looking at this encouraging trend, his ministry would revise the visitors’ arrival in 2024 to four million, with an estimated RM9.76 billion in revenue.

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Karim said the post Covid-19 tourism industry in Sarawak is expected to grow exponentially corresponding with signs of positive growth in the global tourism scenario.

“Sarawak expects visitors’ arrival to fully recover to pre-pandemic level by 2025,” he said.

With the acquisition of MASWing Sdn Bhd by the state government, completion of many tourist attractions and participation of the private sectors, such as Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros), Karim said he is confident that the state tourism industry will flourish and become one of the main drivers to Sarawak’s GDP growth and sustain its high income status.

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He noted that the year 2026 is set to be Visit Malaysia Year where the country is set to welcome 26.1 million tourists and projected to earn domestic spending of RM97.6 billion.

“Therefore, the generous funding by the federal Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture is sought to improve our existing tourism facilities, so as to enable Sarawak to be in an advantageous position to accommodate the influx of tourists heading our way,” he said.

Karim said the completion of the “infostructures” that will ensure full internet coverage and road infrastructure in the form of the 1,200km Pan Borneo Highway will provide new opportunities for tourists to explore Sarawak seamlessly.

“It is indeed a ripe opportunity to invite more of the private sectors to invest in businesses and ventures related to the tourism industry,” he said.