KUCHING, March 16 — Sarawak recorded a total of 352,983 visitor arrivals in January this year, marking an increase of 10.63 per cent over the numbers registered in the same period last year, said Datuk Sebastian Ting.

The Deputy Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts said the tourism receipts generated also went up by 12.11 per cent to over RM907 million in January this year, from the amount reported in the corresponding period last year.

“This year, my ministry forecasts an 85 per cent recovery from the pre-pandemic, and Sarawak is targeting to receive four million visitors and generate RM10.19 billion in tourism receipts, contributing to 7.27 per cent of the state’s growth domestic product (GDP),” he said at the prize-giving ceremony for the ‘The Heartbeat of Sarawak’ short video contest held at the Kuching Chinese General Chamber (KCGC) Innovation Hub yesterday.

Ting said the state’s total visitor arrivals last year stood at 3,929,657, recording a whopping increase of 93.82 per cent over the numbers in 2022.

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“The arrivals return about 85 per cent of the pre-pandemic levels in 2019. To recap, last year we set a target of three million travellers, so we surpassed our target by 929,657 visitors.

“The tourism receipt jumped by 101.41 per cent to RM9.99 billion compared to RM4.96 billion in 2022. The tourism receipt last year accounted for 7.11 per cent of the Sarawak GDP,” he added.

He pointed out that the ministry, under its agency Business Events Sarawak, secured 95 out of 100 targeted events last year.

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He said these were valued at RM346.5 million in total economic impact, RM183.3 million in delegate expenditure and RM20.7 million in taxes, and creating 27,502 job opportunities in Sarawak last year.

“This year, we are targeting to generate RM336.2 million in total economic impact, RM182.7 million in delegate expenditure and RM20.1 million in taxes, and also creating 26,684 job opportunities in Sarawak,” he added.

Ting was pleased that the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sarawak (ACCCIS), a constituent member of the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM), had come up with several tourism packages for delegates to visit Sarawak in conjunction with the ‘17th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention’ to be held this September.

He added that the proposed destinations would include Kuching, Miri, and Bintulu, expecting an influx of more than 300 visitors from around the world.

As such, Ting gave assurance that his ministry would support ACCCIS towards ensuring the success of these tourism packages and also maximising the opportunities presented by the upcoming convention.

On the short video contest, he lauded ACCCIS for supporting Sarawak Tourism through this endeavour.

“This event serves as an exemplary model of synergy between the private sector and public sector in bolstering tourism and supporting the Sarawak government’s vision as set out in the Post Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030.

“Let us continue to work hand in hand together towards realising our shared aspirations for the economic prosperity for Sarawak,” added Ting. — The Borneo Post