Sarawak eyes 3m visitor arrivals in 2023

KUCHING – Sarawak aims to attract three million arrivals and RM7.25 billion in tourism receipts in 2023.

State Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said this projection is based on the trend of tourists coming to the state over the past few months.

He said from Jan to Oct this year, visitor arrivals into Sarawak totalled 1,378,017 and he is confident to receive an estimated 1.8 million visitors by year end surpassing the target of 1.2 million visitors for 2022.

“While international tourism bounces back slowly, domestic tourism will continue to drive the recovery of the state’s tourism industry,” he told the Sarawak state assembly sitting in his winding-up speech on the state’s budget for next year.

Meanwhile, Abdul Karim said his ministry was working closely with the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) and the Ministry of Transport Sarawak (MOTS) to ensure flight frequencies are gradually increased to pre-pandemic level. 

He said the flight frequency to Sarawak that has been approved by the Malaysia Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) was 587 flights per week but currently there are only 408 flights.

Of the total, he said 35 are international flights and 375 are domestic flights.

Meanwhile, Abdul Karim said the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) has signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) on the Kuching Umrah Gateway (KUG) initiative on Oct 6.

He said this initiative will provide direct flights from Kuching to Jeddah and Medina in Saudi Arabia commencing in the first quarter of 2023.

“We project more than 200,000 visitor arrivals within six years through KUG.

“The programme allows travellers flying in from their respective location to have a stopover in Kuching for pre or post tours either before their direct flight to Jeddah or Medina or on their journey home,” he added.  – Bernama / pic TMR File