MIRI: There has been a surge in the number of tourists from peninsula Malaysia and Sabah visiting Sarawak marking a significant development not only for tourism but also for national integration.
Latest figures compiled by the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) showed that domestic tourists arrivals in Sarawak increased by 47% last year compared to the year before.
However, the number of European and Australian tourists entering Sarawak dipped, apparently because of the flight rationalisation exercise by Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia in August last year.
STB chief executive officer Gracie Geikie, releasing the statistics, said Sarawak recorded some three million tourists last year, with the bulk of them domestic.
“Tourist arrivals from mainland Europe dropped by 21%. Tourists from Britain went down by 14% while those coming from Australia dipped by 11%.
“This was a direct result of the transitional woes during the flight rationalisation exercise carried out by MAS and Air Asia (on August 1, last year).
“However, the number of domestic tourists into Sarawak from other states, especially from the peninsula, shot up by 47%. This helped boost the state’s tourism by a large extent,” she said.
The surge in the number of domestic tourists augured well for inter-state tourism as a whole, she said, stressing that the promotional efforts by Tourism Malaysia was bearing fruits.
On a related matter, Geikie said the number of visitors to Sarawak from the Balkan countries, such as Hungary and Poland, had shown an increase due to efforts by Tourism Malaysia to promote Malaysia in these former communists states.
“These east Europeans like nature and adventure and Sarawak has tremendous variety,” she said, adding that Sarawak would venture more into these new long-haul destinations which had not been explored.
Source : STAR
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