Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Huge potential in Sarawak tourism sector

SARIKEI: The tourism industry has all the potentials to remain as one of the country’s major income earners.

Deputy Tourism Minister, Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit said that after witnessing its steady growth over the past few years, he was confident that tourism, the country’s second largest industry would thrive by leaps and bounds in the coming years.

In that respect the ministry had targeted to attract over 36 million foreign tourists to visit the country annually from year 2020 onwards, he said at a briefing on the development of Sarikei local tourism industry at the Resident’s Office yesterday morning.

If the target was achieved, the industry could generate an annual income of RM168 billion for the country, he pointed out.

In 2009, a total of 23.6 million tourists visited the country with a total of RM53.4 million being spent, he noted.

Though, the official figure for last year was yet to be released, he believed it was bigger than 2009, said Dawos who estimated around 25 million visitors and generating revenue of about RM55 million.

“The country’s tourism industry has great potentials given its rich saleable products. We have rich culture of over 50 ethnic groups; beautiful and unique flora and fauna, historical places and many attractions,” he said.

He called on tourism players to be creative and innovative to convert the potentials of tourism products into monetary value.

“In that regards we have to adopt ‘think tourism, act tourism’ motto to keep us focus when thinking of ways and means to optimise exploitation of the industry,” he said.

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