BATU NIAH: Niah National Park recorded a decline in the number of visitors last year mainly due to poor infrastructure.
Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia Sarawak Office director Suriya Charles Buas said this included poor road conditions and repair works.
“Despite the whole nation recording an increase in the number of visitors, Niah National Park and Patrick Libau Homestay (outside the national park) showed a decline.
“I was made to understand that last year’s drop was due to infrastructure, which was in need of upgrading such as road access to villages here,” he said at the launching of the Niah Interpretation Centre yesterday.
A total of 28,206 visitors were recorded at the national park last year compared to 30,236 in 2016, while the homestay had 2,863 visitors compared to 3,187 in 2016.
He said due to the importance of preserving heritage values at the national park as well as other tourism products, the government through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia and its state partners have been working to upgrade products.
“The government had allocated RM5 million to upgrade Niah National Park in the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), while another RM3.4 million was given in the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP),” he said.
Suriya added he is confident that once upgrading work is fully completed, services would improve along with visitor comfort.
“With that, I hope that the number of international and domestic visitors to the national park will also soar, thus enhancing the economy of locals who make their living by selling local products, providing public transportation, accommodation, and others,” he said.
Last year, there were 26.76 million tourists nationwide compared to 25.72 million in 2016.
Sarawak received 4.86 million tourists last year compared to 4.66 million in 2016.