Tourist arrivals in Sarawak are expected to drop between five and 10 percent due to the Influenza A (H1N1) virus and the global economic downturn, state Urban Development and Tourism Minister, Datuk Michael Manyin, said on Tuesday.
He said the state tourism players were bracing for a drop in tourist arrivals as most countries now were amid global travel slowdown.
"The worldwide recession and fears of the flu will definitely affect the state's tourism industry. If the situation continues, tourist arrivals in the state will drop between five to ten percent.
"We hope the Influenza A (H1N1) situation will improve and the economy situation recovers soon so we can pick up by the end of this year," he told reporters at a news conference here today.
Manyin said Sarawak targeted 3.4 million tourist arrivals this year.
"I doubt we can achieve it if the situation persist," he said.
Earlier, Manyin said the 18th Kobe Osaka International (KOI) Karate World Cup will be held here beginning July 23-26 at the Sarawak Indoor Stadium, Petra Jaya.
He said about 2,000 exponents from 35 countries including, Scotland, Italy, Greece, India, Egypt, Holland, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia were scheduled to compete in more than 30 categories (aged eight to 45 and above).
Malaysia will be represented by the national team and clubs from Pahang, Labuan, Sabah and Sarawak.
Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek will declare open the event on Thursday.
Source : Bernama
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