KUCHING: The state government has allocated RM20 million for tourism related projects which will be implemented beginning next year.
Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said among these projects included the expansion of tourism belt North Yu Seng/Jalan Merpati, Miri; Bakam Point in Miri; riverbank beautification and walkway from Kampung Boyan to Fort Margherita here and the upgrading of Dalat Waterfront, Mukah (Phase 2).
“The federal government under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture has also approved an allocation of RM5.9 million for the upgrading of Niah National Park (RM3.4 million) and redevelopment of Heritage Trail from Kampung Bintangor to Kuching Esplanade (RM2.5 million) which will be carried out in the 1st Rolling Plan of the 11th Malaysia Plan from 2016 to 2017,” he said in his winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Sitting this morning.
Abang Johari, who was the first minister to present his speech for the ministerial winding-up, also touched on tourist arrivals in the state where the downtrend arrival at national level had also affected arrival in Sarawak.
“Sarawak received 3,746,933 visitors from Jan to Oct this year, bringing an estimated tourism receipt of RM8.24 billion.
“However, based on past trends of average arrivals from Nov to Dec, my ministry is anticipating 4.8 million visitor arrivals in Sarawak in 2015,” he said.
Abang Johari’s speech was also interjected by Chew Chu Sing (DAP-Kidurong) who sought clarification on whether the ministry could do “something that is concrete for the people to travel domestically especially during the festive season.”
To this, Abang Johari replied that anyone who has studied economics will know that airfares are determined by the market.
“Everybody wants to get more business out of it and therefore the fare structure is one of the approaches. We cannot dictate the airlines,” he said and pointed out that there are also other operators in Sarawak such as AirAsia and Malindo Air that can more or less determine the fare structure.
“On top of that, the state government is building the (Pan Borneo) highway so not necessarily you have to travel by air,” he suggested.
This led opposition members to object furiously in the chambers which only came to a halt when DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar put a stop to it and asked the minister to proceed and conclude his speech.
He then asked for a break before continuing his next speech for the Ministry of Housing.
Asfia thus announced a break at 10.15am before the sitting resumes at 10.45am.