S’wak tops in domestic visitor arrivals


SYMBOLIC LAUNCH: Abang Johari (second right) tapping on the tablet as a symbolic gesture to officially launch the BTA 1st Anniversary Celebrations, witnessed by Kho (second left), Jamilah (right), Chen (centre) and Von Jolly Couture fashion designer Aaron G Von Jolly (left). — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: Sarawak recorded the highest number of domestic visitor arrivals compared to other states in the country this year.

Minister of Tourism Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the number of visitors from Sabah and the peninsula had been increasing every year.

“Sarawak has the highest number of arrivals in terms of domestic visitors. They came here either for leisure or business,” he said following a courtesy call from Borneo Tourism Alliance (BTA), which kicked start its official e-launching of BTA 1st Anniversary Celebrations here yesterday.

Anticipating that domestic visitor arrivals would continue to increase this year, Abang Johari expressed confidence that his ministry’s target of four million visitors (foreign and domestic) for this year was achievable.

Meanwhile, he also called upon the private sector to help propel the state’s tourism industry by organising more tourism activities to attract visitors.

“They can organise their events annually and promote them earlier so as to garner awareness from foreign tourists to participate.”

“BTA, an upcoming non-governmental organisation for the regional tourism industry, will be organising its first event ‘Fun Cycling + Plant A Tree + Ai Dilfitri Get Together’ on Aug 26 in conjunction with its first anniversary,” said BTA president Kho Sze Min.

He pointed out that the strategic partnership event jointly organised with the Santubong Homestay Operators will see a target of around 300 international and 200 locals from the cycling fraternity to cycle some 50km along the scenic environment of Santubong.

“The participants will be participating in a line-up of activities such as tree-planting, fresh coconut water drinking competition as well as savouring local kampung cuisines in lieu of the Hari Raya celebrations with the local folks in Santubong,” said Kho, adding that other optional activities included beach volleyball, jungle trekking, rock mountain climbing, and golfing.

“We are also honoured to have BTA spokesperson Miss Malaysia World 2011 Chloe Chen joining us in the event next month.”

Launched in September 2011, BTA aimed to serve as a bridge between public and private sectors to bring in foreign direct investments, particularly for the tourism industry in Sarawak.

Also present were Ministry of Tourism permanent secretary Datu Ik Pahon Joyik, BTA vice president Jamilah Shukri and Chen.