KUCHING: Sarawak will have to go the extra mile to achieve the target of four million tourist arrivals this year.
Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chief executive officer Datuk Rashid Khan said the state would have to focus on Asian markets to boost arrival figures because of the economic slump in Europe and political instability in the Middle East.
He said although 48 per cent of the total tourists came from Brunei last year, travellers from many regions across the globe had visited Sarawak.
The state registered a record 3.8 million visitors in 2011, generating RM7.1 billion in tourism receipts.
Speaking to journalists yesterday, Rashid said the board must also work to improve air connectivity.
He pointed out that the pulling out of Firefly, a Malaysia Airlines (MAS) subsidiary, from the state also had an impact on the industry’s growth.
“Last time, we still had Firefly and now we shall look at expanding MASwings (another subsidiary of MAS) to help us achieve the four million tourists target.”
On whether STB would urge the government to reinstate Firefly services in the state, Rashid said, “That you should ask the minister.”
Meanwhile, he said this year’s Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) had recorded a 20 per cent increase in online ticket sales.
“It has been encouraging and we also expect to sell tickets at the gate on the day,” he added.