KUCHING: Sarawak recorded 4.56 million tourist arrivals in 2017 out of which 38,204 tourists come from China.
According to Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah during the same year, Sarawak recorded RM8.95 billion in spending by tourists.
“Overall, the number of visitors to Sarawak last year was 4.56 million arrivals and from that, 38,204 were Chinese visitors. China is one of the largest visitors to Sarawak after Indonesia and Brunei, but viewed from the participation of Malaysia’s Second Home programme, China’s tourists are among the largest,” he added during a press conference at his office here yesterday.
He also said many of the Chinese visitors were particularly interested in having Sarawak as their destination, thanks to the Malaysia My Second Home programme.
Tourists in Sarawak spent RM8.95 billion on hotels, restaurants, transport and retail.
“Tourism expenditure has been rising for destinations to Sarawak, where some attending conferences may have different rates from those who come to travel. But from the data, a tourist spends roughly RM2,000 to RM3,000 when they come here,” he said.
He believes the arrival of Chinese tourists to Sarawak is expected to increase this year with direct flights from the country including the Shenzhen-Kuching AirAsia flight.
Abdul Karim however said the AirAsia flight Shenzhen-Kuching had to be halted due to a problem in Shenzhen but would be flying again on March 25.
“This flight is delayed due to crowded flight slots in Shenzhen and AirAsia is solving this problem. It’s not a local problem but it will be held again on March 25 not as a day-to-day flight though flights can be checked daily,” he commented.
Also present at the press conference was Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports principal assistant secretary Desmond Douglas Jerukan.