Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sarawak target 4 million tourists this year

KUCHING: The Tourism Ministry is optimistic that the state will achieve its target of receiving four million foreign tourists this year.

Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said last year 3.8 million foreign tourists visited Sarawak.

He said the confidence in achieving the target was based on the increase in the number of foreign tourist arrivals in the first two months of this year as compared with domestic tourists.

“In January, there were 227,000 foreign tourists coming into Sarawak as against 120,000 domestic travellers. In February, we received 188,000 foreigners as against 96,000 domestic tourists … meaning on average our foreign tourists is about 65 per cent of the total number of visitors,” he said.

He said this when met by reporters after presenting the Das Goldene Stadttor (Golden City Gate) awards won by the state in the Print Campaign Category at ITB Berlin Travel Show to Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud in the latter’s office at Menara Pelita in Petrajaya here yesterday.

Abang Johari, who is also Housing Minister, said he was optimistic that the trend would grow because there had been indications that Kuching, as a convention destination, was well known to those involved in conventions.

He said for this year alone there would be three international conventions to be held here and there would be more to come in the following years.

“For Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) to win the prestigious award in Berlin means that there is great potential for Sarawak to be a destination not only for European tourists but also other tourism fraternity.

“With that we have to improve our infrastructures in order to get ourselves prepared for the influx of tourists particularly from foreign countries,” he said.

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