KUCHING (Dec 11): Sarawak targets to draw in three million tourists next year as the tourism industry gradually picks up post-Covid-19, said Deputy Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts (Tourism) Dato Sebastian Ting.
As the international borders opened up earlier this year after a two-year lapse due to the pandemic, he said the state had thus far recorded an arrival of 1.4 million tourists.
“This has surpassed our target of 1.2 million tourist arrivals this year. We are now looking at a new target of either 1.5 million or 1.8 million.
“Next year, our target is three million tourist arrivals. Before Covid-19, we had 4.66 million tourists coming in to Sarawak. We hope the tourism industry will pick up after the pandemic,” he said today.
He said this during a media conference after launching a book titled ‘Stars Twinkle, and so our Original Aspiration’ in conjunction with the Sarawak Constellation Poetical Society’s 50th anniversary at Riverine Diamond here.
Ting expressed confidence that the tourism sector in the state would fare better after the pandemic.
He said the ministry had also lined up programmes and activities to help boost the industry.
For instance, he said: “We have countdown this year, at the usual venue – Kuching Waterfront. It is going to be a huge celebration with a big crowd.”
He, however, could not provide an estimated figure of the big crowd to be expected at the forthcoming countdown event here.
Despite so, he said: “Let’s say goodbye to 2022 and welcome 2023.”
Earlier, Ting asserted that Sarawakians ought to pay attention to the needs of immaterial aspect of spiritual life to strengthen their identity which consolidates the society with good will, consistency and ethnic harmony.
“It would be a regret if the Sarawakians’ identity is purely treated as a political slogan for the purpose of propagandas without being instilled in life and thought.
“The hospitality, generosity and acceptance with mutual respect are the fundamental compositions of Sarawak tradition, its cultural identity can serve as a model of our multi-racial, multi-lingual and multi-religious society of our whole nation,” he said.
He thus hoped that Sarawak writers, intellectuals and scholars would explore deeper into the spiritual and cultural heritage of the state.
He was pleased to note that the Sarawak Constellation Poetical Society had brought in speakers from Peninsular Malaysia to share their knowledge and thoughts.
The speakers were Malaysia Chinese Writers Association president Dr Pan Pik Wah, who is also heading the Department of Chinese Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of the University of Malaya, and Sin Chew Daily deputy executive editor-in-chief Chen Yoke Lim.
Among those present were the ministry’s Arts, Culture and Heritage head Elena Chai and Sarawak Constellation Poetical Society president Ng Chek Yong.