Sunday, November 10, 2013

Boosting Sarawak’s tourism industry in 2014

As one of the most lucrative industries in Malaysia, the tourism industry is expected to garner total receipts of RM168 billion by 2020.

According to Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Malaysia is expected to earn that amount from the targeted 36 million tourist arrivals by 2020 under the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan (MTTP).

Looking at Sarawak, if the current trend continues, total tourism receipts could breach the double digit RM10 billion revenue figure during Visit Malaysia Year next year, spurred by higher spending from more tourist arrivals and participations in various events and conferences.

According to data from the Ministry of Tourism Sarawak, the state recorded RM6.62 billion in total tourism receipts in 2010, RM7.91 billion in 2011 and RM8.57 billion in 2012.

Given such an upward trend, total tourism receipts would fetch an estimated more than RM9 billion this year and could potentially increased to more than RM10 billion in 2014 as Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY) looms.

Meanwhile, the state will showcase its own activities and promotional events to attract more tourists to visit Sarawak in conjunction with VMY2014.

These events are envisaged to draw more tourist to the state besides lifting the economy of Sarawak by encouraging more spending and travels.

Some of the top annual events and highlights include Rainforest World Music Festival, Borneo International Yachting Challenge, Sarawak Regatta, Borneo Jazz, Mukah Kaul Festival, World Harvest Festival, Borneo International Kite Festival, Borneo Cultural Festival and Tidal Bore Carnival.

Sarawak Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said, “The Ministry of Tourism Sarawak will highlight 13 major tourism events in conjunction with VMY 2014.

“These 13 major events will create excitement and provide value added activities for tourists to see and do while visiting Sarawak.

“In preparation for VMY 2014, the Ministry of Tourism Sarawak has embarked on a proactive initiative to launch our very own Visit Sarawak Year campaign.

“The objective is to be ahead of the VMY 2014 campaign.

“This will prepare the State tourism industry on the anticipated influx of tourists.

“At the end of next year, we hope to achieve increased arrivals and increased revenue for the tourism sector.

“We want to increase tourism contribution towards our Gross Domestic Product’s (GDP) growth to second place from third place currently,” he told The Borneo Post.

He pointed out that the ministry is eyeing 4.2 million of tourist arrivals in 2014, a progressive increase from an estimated figure of 4.1 million in 2013.

He revealed that there were four million of tourist arrivals last year into Sarawak.

Out of the four million visitors, 2.63 million people were foreign visitors and 1.4 million people were domestic travelers.

From the 2.63 million foreign tourist arrivals, 1.73 million were from Brunei, followed by 417,072 people from Indonesia, 113,174 people from The Philippines, 55,674 people from Singapore and 43,326 people from China.

Apparently, the top three biggest percentage increased of foreign arrivals into Sarawak last year were from the Middle East (87 per cent); Thailand (78.3 per cent) and Bangladesh (67.2 per cent).

Johari noted that Sarawak has a lot of attractiveness to offer to tourists.

“Sarawak has always been consistent in offering our unique selling point (USP) of culture, adventure and nature (CAN).

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