MIRI: The Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia is optimistic that the target to attract five million tourists to Sarawak can be achieved this year.
Its deputy minister Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin said as at October this year, a total of 3.4 million people had visited the state.
“The development of the tourism sector in Sarawak can be seen clearly through the statistics of tourists entering the state. Last year, the state registered a total of 4.8 million visitors compared to 4.3 million visitors in 2013.
“With such positive progress, it is possible for Sarawak to achieve the target of five million visitors this year,” she stated when officiating at the soft opening of the Recreational and Tourism Centre at Bungai Beach in Bekenu yesterday.
Mas Ermieyati thanked the various ministries, federal and state departments, government agencies, local authorities, private sector and non-governmental organisations for their concerted efforts in promoting Sarawak to the international market.
At the same time, she reminded tourism players not to be over excited in their tourism promotion works so as not to affect the quality of their products.
“There is a need for you to practise balanced tourism development. Apart from generating profit, you have to balance your business with the need to preserve the quality of environment.
“Neglecting quality and cleanliness of the environment would only spoil and tarnish your tourism efforts. It is because Mother Nature is the main factor in attracting the people to visit the places.”
Thus, she said, the ministry had developed the 1Malaysia Green 1Malaysia Clean (1MG 1MC) programme as well as encouraged the people to ‘Plant a Tree’ to create better awareness of the need to protect the environment and keep the surroundings clean.
On the implementation of Recreational and Tourism Centre of Bungai Beach in Bekenu, she said it was in line with the government’s desire to make the tourism sector a significant contributor to Sarawak’s economic growth.
In view of that, she urged the local folks to grab the available opportunities to generate income by taking up homestay programme, transportation, handicraft making and selling and many others.
She also advised the local folks to organise various recreational and arts activities to promote the diversity of ethnic cultures in the area, which she said would entice tourists to the nearby villages and get to know the uniqueness of the different cultures.
Also present were Sibuti MP Ahmad Lai Bujang, Assistant Minister of Early Childhood Education and Family Development Rosey Yunus and secretary to Infrastructure Development Unit of Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia Hussain Moh.