MIRI: The Sarawak government is implementing the Third Sarawak Tourism Master plan (2020 – 2035) to position Sarawak as one of the preferred tourist destinations, despite threats from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Assistant Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting said the master plan is in line with the Sarawak Economic Action Council (SEAC) to position Sarawak as developed state by 2030.
“Tourism industry is one of the important economic sectors under SEAC as the industry is one of the biggest contributors to the state’s Gross Domestic Product – GDP which generated RM11.57 billion tourism receipts and accounted for 8.72 per cent of the state’s GDP in 2019.
“The overall number of visitors has increased by 42.5 per cent from 3.27 million in 2010 to 4.66 million last year whereas the tourism receipts have jumped 72.6 per cent from RM6.7 billion (in 2010) to RM11.57 billion (in 2019),” he said when officiating at the On-Boarding Workshop for the Third Sarawak Tourism Master plan study in Miri, which ended on Wednesday.
Also present were the chairman of the Sarawak Tourism Board and Telang Usan assemblyman, Dennis Ngau, permanent secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hii Chang Kee, Agile Business Consulting chief executive officer, Dato Dr. Amin Khan and Rose Edward who represented Miri Resident.
Ting added that the Covid-19 pandemic coupled with the enforcement of movement restriction and border control had caused a sharp decline in travel and leisure resulting in unprecedented severe adverse impact on the tourism industry worldwide.
“Sarawak’s Third Tourism Master plan is timely as we try very hard to recover from the impact of the pandemic and to chart the way forward bringing new business models and strategies for both the demand and supply sides of the tourism industry,” he said.
Ting said the master plan is guided by the Sarawak’s Tourism Aspiration (STA) that aimed to position Sarawak by 2030 as a leading destination for eco-tourism and business events in Asean Region.
Additionally, he said the master plan supports the state government’s focus on digital economy and sustainable environment that embrace digital trend and transformation in the travel industry to ensure innovation and creativity in the tourism value chain and tourists experience.
“This 15-year strategic master plan is to be prepared by experts in both the public and private sectors to make its implementation a success. Our goal too is to ensure that the tourism development will generate income, employment to benefit both the corporate sector, the rakyat by involving them in community based tourism, arts and culture industry and increasing household incomes,” Ting stressed.
On the three-day on-boarding workshop attended by 111 stakeholders in Miri, he said it was to obtain input and comments for the formulation of the master plan.
It was organised jointly by his ministry, Economic Planning Unit (EPU) Sarawak and Agile Business Consulting.
Similar workshops will be held in Sibu from Sept 22 to 24 and Bintulu from Sept 29 to Oct 1.while two workshops had been conducted in Kuching from Aug 24 to 27 and Sept 1 -5.