Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Eastern Europeans flocking to Sarawak in droves

KUCHING: An increasing number of tourists from eastern Europe are coming to Sarawak, drawn by the state’s nature attractions and tropical weather.

Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chief executive officer Gracie Geikie said some 5,900 visitors from the region came last year; almost triple the number of arrivals in 2005.

She said the surge was significant as the board had not carried out any tourism road shows there, like it had done in western Europe, its traditional market.

Ironically, the number of visitors from the western European countries had slipped to just 1,900 last year, down from 2,300 in the previous year.

She said this was largely because of the rationalisation exercise by Malaysia Airlines, which saw the rural air service, including flights to Mulu, handed over to Fly Asian Xpress (FAX) in August last year.

She said the STB has found that musical fests have extraordinary drawing power to bring in the tourists.
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