Thursday, 10 August 2017

More tourist arrivals this year compare with last year

August 10, 2017

KUCHING: The current total number of tourist arrivals from Peninsular Malaysia and beyond to the state are already surpassing last year's figure.

According to the Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, 561,532 Peninsular Malaysians have visited Sarawak this year compared with 456,471 visitors in the whole of last year.

AirAsia Head of Commercial Spencer Lee (second right) presents a souvenir in the form of the Kuching-Langkawi flight route to Karim while Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chairman Datuk Abdul Wahab Aziz (second left) and AirAsia staff look on.

He also disclosed that the state recorded a total of 1,146,601 visitors so far this year compared to 873,471 for the whole of last year.

The minister, however, as reported by The Borneo Post today, didn't disclose the figures were until which month this year.

Abdul Karim made this revelation during a press conference yesterday after launching AirAsia’s inaugural Kuching- Langkawi flight at Kuching International Airport (KIA).

On the inaugural flight, Abdul Karim thanked AirAsia for being very aggressive in the networking to connect the state with Peninsular Malaysia and hoped for more partnership in the future.

“I am proud to note that Kuching is still a key hub for AirAsia with 11 domestic flights. 

"The Kuching-Langkawi flight is a new destination for domestic tourists,” he said, adding that AirAsia was the first airline making a direct flight between the two places.

He hoped that Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and tour operators would work together to support AirAsia in marketing and promoting the state and its tourism products, as well as Langkawi.

“We cannot expect the airline to come up with the packages and expect the flight to be full. We need to promote both Langkawi and Sarawak for AirAsia to continue with the flight,” added Abdul Karim.

He also said that the Kuching-Langkawi flight would enable more Sarawakians to travel to other states in Peninsular Malaysia and beyond. 

Karim also touched on the shortage of trained and registered tourist guides in Sarawak.

He gave his assurance that his ministry will try to resolve the matter.

He said one of the main stumbling blocks that caused the shortage was the exorbitant fees one had to fork out to attend courses, be registered and properly trained.

“I am made to understand that to become a tourist guide, you need to have a licence and the fee is quite high to attend courses. I don’t have the final detail though.

“I will have to go deeper into this thing. It is the issue of fees that we will have to look into. If we have to subsidise it (fee) we will, and if we can have the course conducted in Sarawak without having to go to Peninsular Malaysia, we will do it,” Abdul Karim said. -ybkarimsays

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