Monday, June 17

State targets 5 million visitors next year

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SARAWAK is targeting five million visitor arrivals and RM10.68 billion in tourism receipt next year.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state received 3,785,175 (3.79 million) visitors from January to October this year, an increase of 1.02 per cent from 3,746,933 (3.75 million) in the same period last year.

“It has generated an estimated tourism receipt of RM7.5 billion,” he said in his ministerial winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly sitting yesterday.

Abang Johari stated that based on past trend of average arrivals for the month of November to December, his Ministry was anticipating 4.7 million visitor arrivals into Sarawak in 2016, an increase of 4.4 per cent from 4.5 million in 2015.

He said the Sarawak tourism sector was expected to generate tourism receipt of RM10.18 billion or a 3.1 per cent increase, contributing about 10 per cent to the state gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016.

Abang Johari said on the national front, Malaysia was experiencing its first recovery in tourist arrivals from January to September this year.

“Malaysia received 17,611,563 (17.6 million) tourists from January to September 2016, an increase of 3.8 per cent from 16,965,885 (16.97 million) in the same period of 2015.

“Tourism receipt increased by 10.7 per cent in the first half of this year, contributing RM37.4 billion to the country’s revenue against RM33.8 billion in 2015.

For this year, Malaysia was expecting to receive 30.5 million tourists, bringing in RM103 billion in tourism receipts.

“Tourism Malaysia is targeting 31.8 million tourist arrivals and RM118 billion in tourism receipts in 2017.”

He said under the State Transformation Plan, the state government had set up three cabinet committees to undertake intervention action plans in areas of the state’s socio-economic development, rural growth and service delivery.

“The three committees are socio-economic transformation, rural transformation and performance, and service delivery transformation.”

Acknowledging the significant contribution of the local economy as an impetus to create new growth in the service sector, Abang Johari said the state government had placed tourism as one of the key result areas under the socio-economic transformation programme.

“YAB Chief Minister in the Supply Bill (2017) speech on Nov 21, 2016 in this august House announced an allocation of RM48 million for the tourism sector. This is the first time in so many years that tourism has got such a significant budget allocation.

“The allocation shows the state government’s seriousness to further develop and position Sarawak as the tourism destination in this region. The economic spin-offs to the local economy and the multiplier effect will be multi-faceted and multi-sectorial.

“This would benefit all those involved in the service sector value chain from travel agent to transportation, accommodation, eateries, souvenir shops, entertainment outlets and tourism product owners.”