Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sarawak confident of receiving 5 million tourists this year

KUCHING: The Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry is optimistic about its goal of welcoming five million tourists to Sarawak this year.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Datu Ik Pahon Joyik believes that the target – set by Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg – is achievable.

“The chief minister, who also holds the tourism ministerial portfolio, has given us a target of five million (tourist) arrivals for 2017. I know we can do it – I know the target is something that we can achieve if we work together.

“Aside from that, the January figure is also already a positive indication that the trend of visitors coming to Sarawak is on the increase,” he said at the launch of the 10th Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) Fair 2017 at the Boulevard Shopping Mall here yesterday.

Adding on, Ik Pahon said the total visitors received by Sarawak in January last year were 283,000 but for the same month this year, the figure reached was 420,413 – a jump of 48 per cent.

According to him, domestic arrivals were still very strong, adding that the state’s domestic arrival of tourists from Peninsular Malaysia for January this year was 190,548 – an increase of 40 per cent over the 139,923 recorded in the same month last year.

“Surprisingly for the first time, the arrival figure (of tourists) from Singapore also increased by 34 per cent – from 2,729 in January 2016, to 3,661 in January 2017,” he said.