SIBU: Sarawak recorded a 596% increase in tourist arrivals for the first three months of this year compared to the same period last year, says Hii Chang Kee.
The state Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Ministry permanent secretary said that 229,678 visitors came to the state between January and March compared to 33,135 last year.
He added that of this, 219,115 were domestic tourists and 10,563 were foreigners and also said that this is a 712% increase for local tourists.
Hii also said that there was a 569% growth in tourism receipts between the two periods.
“Due to the surge in tourist arrivals during these three months, we recorded RM517mil in tourism receipts compared to RM77.25mil for the same period last year,” he said.
Hii believed that with the opening of state borders and more inbound flights, Sarawak could achieve its target of 1.2mil tourists for this year.
“We believe that there were more tourist arrivals in April after the state opened its borders. There are also more direct flights from Brunei, Singapore, Penang and we are also waiting for the Kuching-Pontianak sector,” he said.
Hii also said that four major tourism draws will take place in June following the removal of several number of Covid-19 restrictions.
They are the SIDF from June 9-11, the Spartan Race Sarawak from June 11-12, the Rainforest World Musical Festival in Kuching from June 16-17 and the Borneo Jazz Festival in Miri from June 25-17.
Others include the Borneo Cultural Festival (BCF) in Sibu from July 19-23 while the Sibu Big Bike Festival, Miri and Kuching Marathon will be held later this year.