Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Sarawak Eyes Four Million Tourists This Year

KUCHING -- Sarawak has set a target of four million tourist arrivals this year following the improvement in accessibility with affordable air fares that could lead to more tourism packages to the state.

State Tourism Assistant Minister Datuk Talib Zulpilip said for last year and 2009, a total of 3.2 million tourists visited Sarawak.

"Due to the economic downturn, the state received less foreign tourists in the last two years but we hope things will change for the better this year," he said at a news conference after chairing the state tourism task force meeting, here Tuesday.

Talip said with many new low-cost airlines such as Firefly flying to Sarawak and the introduction of direct flights by established airlines from Asian countries such as Korea and Japan, the Sarawak tourism industry expected it would be on the right track this year.

Talip said although foreign tourists arrival registered a decline from 2.1 million in 2009 to 1.8 million in 2010, domestic arrivals had been positive.

He said a total of 1.37 million domestic tourists visited Sarawak last year compared to 1.16 million in 2009 with Sabah tourists registering an increase.

He said to project a positive image of the Sarawak tourism industry, the local media should not sensationalise crime cases that occurred on foreign tourists.

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