Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sarawak ready for four million visitors this year

KUCHING: Sarawak is on track to meet its aim of receiving four million arrivals of foreign visitors this year.

Until June this year, almost exactly two million such arrivals were recorded, said Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“Arrivals of foreigners have shot up 17.9% in the first six months of the year, compared to 2011,” Johari told reporters yesterday.

“We’ve received 1.3 million foreign arrivals to Sarawak. Domestic arrivals, meanwhile, continue to hold steady at roughly 700,000 arrivals, which matches the same period last year.”

According to Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), the average visitor spends about RM2,200 per trip to the state. Last year, the state tourism industry generated some RM7.6bil in revenue and spin-offs.

Johari said arrivals from cruise tourism have increased by as much as 200%. More than 4,000 tourists arrived via cruises in the first half of this year. For the entire 2011, just 1,862 cruise tourists arrived in the state.

“I think within the next five years, tourists coming in cruise ships will continue to increase,” Johari said.

The minister was speaking to reporters after a meeting with STB’s new board of directors here yesterday.

He said for tourism to improve, the state’s national parks had to be upgraded with priority given to the national parks of Bako, Gunung Gading and Lambir Hills.

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