KUCHING: Sarawak must not rely on Kuala Lumpur to promote the state as a tourist destination.
According to Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, there is a need for Sarawak to establish ties with other countries, especially those in the Asean region, in order to attract more visitors.
Speaking at the launching ceremony of the 2018 Digital Tourism Forum yesterday, he noted that some 150,000 Sarawakians had visited Thailand as compared to only around 7,000 Thais visiting Sarawak last year.
"There must be a way for us to increase the number of visitors to Sarawak.
"Asean countries being our neighbours continue to be our top source of visitors which accounted for 48.98 per cent or 2.38 million arrivals in 2017.
"Sarawak has plenty to offer to those seeking a slightly less conventional travel experience,” he added.
Abdul Karim also commented that Sarawak cannot depend solely on Tourism Malaysia to promote the state as the board have other states in the country besides Sarawak to promote.
In 2017, Sarawak recorded 4.86 million visitors arrival with a total spending of RM8.59 billion.
This accounted for 7.9 per cent of the state’s GDP and the state anticipates that tourists will continue to increase hence setting a target of 5.25 million visitors arrival for this year (2018). -TheBorneoPost