Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sarawak plans 60 events for VMY, expects 3.5 million tourists

KUCHING: Sarawak has lined up 60 core events for Visit Malaysia Year 2007 targeting 3.5 million foreign visitors.

Sarawak Tourism Board chief executive officer Gracie Geikie said the state’s Rainforest World Music Festival, the Sarawak Regatta and the Gawai Festival had been listed among the 50 anchor events in the national-level VMY 2007 calendar.

“The Rainforest Music Festival will be held on a bigger scale to mark its 10th anniversary next year,” she said.

Geikie said hotel rooms at the Santubong peninsula where the music festival would be staged at the Sarawak Cultural Village in mid-July had been fully booked.

She said this year’s three-day festival itself had generated an estimated tourism revenue of RM16mil for hotels, the food and beverage industry and other tourism-related components.

Geikie said Sarawak had been asked by the federal authorities to help Penang, which was also planning a similar world music festival next year, to be held one week after the rainforest music festival.

She said all states had been allocated RM1mil each by the Federal Government for VMY 2007, which hoped to see 20 million tourists coming to Malaysia.

This is despite a significant drop in arrivals from traditional long-haul markets, like Europe, due to the disruption to air connectivity following Malaysia Airlines’ domestic rationalisation exercise carried out in August. The exercise has badly hit rural air services, particularly to Mulu National Park, a famous world-heritage site, and the Bario highlands.

Geikie was confident that tourist arrivals from Europe and Australia would pick up next year.

Source : STAR
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