Sarawak is targeting approximately 1.2 million tourists this year as health and safety protocols are further relaxed. The arrival in December 2021 alone increased by 500% compared to December 2020, according to Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts (MTCP).
During the MTCP Strategic Retreat 2022 held at Waterfront hotel on January 22, he expressed optimism that the tourism and creative industry will be fully recovered by the end of 2023 or the beginning of 2024. As more flights are opened up thanks to Sarawak’s entry into Phase 4 of the National Recovery Plan, a strong focus on the changing tourism landscape especially domestic tourism and home grown business events is vital.
“To further incentivise domestic tourism, we launched the Sia Sitok Plus Campaign in Kuala Lumpur last week in collaboration with Malaysia Airlines as a continuation to Sia Sitok 1.0, 2.0 and Sia Sitok Accommodation,” he added.
He also expressed hope that a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) could be worked out with neighbouring countries, opening Sarawak’s border to maybe Singapore, followed by Brunei and Indonesia. Abdul Karim, who is also Minister for Youth, Sports and Entrepreneur Development (MYSED), urged the two ministries under his leadership to work closely in promoting and developing the tourism and creative industries.
“I’m glad to see our Ministry and its agencies including Sarawak Tourism Board, Sarawak Convention Bureau, Sarawak Museum Department, Sarawak Arts Council and Sarawak Craft Council have not slowed down our pace but tried our best to review our directions and strategies to help the tourism, arts and culture industry to weather the storm and re-emerge from difficult times, notably by coming up with Sarawak’s Third Tourism Master Plan 2021 – 2035,” he commended.
Despite the renaming of the ministry, Abdul Karim said it would not affect its scope and will continue to uphold its vision to ensure that Sarawak becomes a leading destination for eco-tourism and business events.
Assistant Minister for Tourism, Datuk Sebastian Ting, Assistant Minister for Creative Industry and Performing Aers, Datuk Snowdan Lawan, MTCP Permanent Secretary, Hii Chang Kee and Deputy Permanent Secretary, Salmah Jobeli were among those present during the MTCP Strategic Retrest 2022.
(Photo courtesy of Dayak Daily)