Sunday, July 5

Ministry to use domestic tourism to revive state’s economy

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KUCHING: Domestic tourism will be one of the strategies to revitalise the economy in Sarawak hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, says Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

He said the state will continue to boost the confidence of tourists to come and visit Sarawak.

“We will start this first and also with our neighbouring countries such as Brunei and Singapore.

“We understand that people, whether in Sarawak, Peninsular Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore, are worried when it comes to travel these days.

“So we will try to build their confidence so that they are willing to come here and be rest assured that Sarawak is safe for them to visit,” he told reporters when met after attending the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Consultative Committee meeting at the DUN Building here yesterday.

He also said he was optimistic that the state’s tourism sector will go back to normal in the next three to four months.

On the current issue of costly airfares between Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, Abdul Karim urged the federal government to look into the matter so that the rates can go back to normal.

At the moment, a one-way air ticket from Kuching to Kuala Lumpur costs up to RM2,000 and this has resulted in complaints from the people in Sarawak, Peninsular Malaysia as well as Sabah, he said.

“This is due to the restrictions of passengers on board the plane in view of social distancing. That is why airline companies had to increase their airfares to avoid suffering from losses.

“But now that there is no more restriction on passenger capacity, therefore we hope that the ticket prices will go down,” he said.

The Sarawak government yesterday approved full flight capacity between Peninsular Malaysia to Sarawak and vice versa with immediate  effect.

The previous flight capacity allowed by the state was only 66.6 per cent.