Friday, March 24

Sarawak eyeing six million tourists during VMY 2014 — Dawos

ALL EARS: Some of the state tourism industry players who attended the VMY 2014 briefing and dialogue session yesterday.

ALL EARS: Some of the state tourism industry players who attended the VMY 2014 briefing and dialogue session yesterday.

KUCHING: The Ministry of Tourism is targeting six million tourist arrivals to Sarawak during Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014.

Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit said yesterday that VMY 2014 promotions and campaigns would be rolled out after the impending 13th general election.

Tourist arrivals in Sarawak surpassed the four million mark last year.

“The state and federal governments will pick up momentum along the way by developing more unique and authentic tourism products to cater for foreign tourists,” he said at a `VMY 2014 Briefing and Dialogue with State Tourism Industry Players’ here.

“We will implement effective strategies to entice tourists to stay in the country longer.”

To ensure the success of VMY 2014, Dawos hoped that all stakeholders, including members of the public and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) would give a helping hand.

“Contribute innovative and creative ideas so that we can achieve our objectives.

“We need everyone to be committed and take their roles seriously. We must not forget there’s competition from other Asean countries.”

Dawos said Malaysia was currently ranked number nine on the World Tourism Organisation’s list of most visited countries by international tourist arrivals.

He thus urged all players to work closely together and share their resources to help push the tourism industry higher.

Using the recent `Chap Goh Mei’ cultural parade at Siniawan, Bau, as an example, Dawos said the crew of China’s broadcasting station (CCTV) was shooting a video there and this was the kind of thing which would benefit the country.

“We are also targeting China as a potential market.”

The Visit Malaysia Year programme had been hosted for three times thus far. The first was in 1990 themed ‘Fascinating Malaysia, Year of Festivals’ which recorded 7.4 million arrivals and yielded RM4.5 billion in receipts.

The second was in 1994 themed ‘Fascinating Malaysia, Naturally More’ which recording 7.2 million arrivals and receipts climbed to RM8.3 billion.

The third was in 2007 to commemorate 50 years of nationhood. Tourist arrivals soared to 20.9 million and receipts totalled RM46.1 billion.

Dawos said the growth in tourist arrivals was in line with the target of the Malaysian Tourism Plan 2020 to achieve 36 million tourist arrivals and a tourism revenue of RM168 billion by year 2020.

Last year, a total of 25,032,708 foreign tourists visited Malaysia, surpassing the figure of 24,714,324 arrivals in 2011.

The total arrivals yielded RM60.6 billion on revenue in 2012, compared to RM58.3 billion in 2011.

The national target for this year is 26 million tourists.

Also present at the event were Ministry of Tourism Malaysia secretary-general Dato Dr Ong Hong Peng and the ministry’s deputy director-general (Marketing) Chong Yoke Har.