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Sarawak experiences growth of 4% of its total arrivals

The State of Sarawak has experienced a growth of 4 % in total tourist arrivals from January to May, confirming the appeal of the destination to both domestic and international markets.

KUCHING – Sarawak, located on the western part of Malaysian Borneo recorded a growth of 4% per cent in tourist arrivals from January to May this year. In volume, the difference was a growth of 1.7 million arrivals compared to the corresponding last year. Domestic arrivals – from Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah – also showed an increase of 12 per cent (636,207 visitors).

Among foreign travellers coming to Sarawak, the largest number of visitors are originated from Brunei with 673,622 arrivals. Brunei alone represented 63% of all international arrivals. It is followed by Indonesia with 188,659 visitors, the Philippines (49,517 arrivals) and Singapore (21,878 arrivals). China continues to grow and is now Sarawak 5th largest source market with 17,526 arrivals between January and March.

Talking to local media at a press conference, Assistant Minister of Tourism Talip Zulpilip declared that such an evolution was good news for the State. The Assistant Minister expressed optimism that Sarawak would meet its target of 4.2 million visitor arrivals before year-end.

“The trickling down effect will help the local economy and the business community,” he said after chairing the 51st board meeting of Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) at a leading hotel here on Tuesday night.

Talip also expressed his satisfaction over the good turnout at the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) 2013 organised by STB, which attracted an attendance of 22,390 during the three days it was held. “It was a resounding success as 73 %of those attending were non-Sarawakians and the economic spin-off was estimated to be worth RM37 million,” he highlighted.

The Assistant Minister praised also media for the good cover provided to the Rainforest Festival, probably Sarawak most iconic media event these days. “Stories are still being written about the festival and we anticipate a media mileage of 50 million which includes pre-publicity. Our local newspapers, radio and television have done an excellent job and I would like to say thank you,” he added.

Talip also revealed that STB has received numerous international recognitions including the Pata Gold Award winner – ‘Sarawak Tourism Re-imaging Campaign’ in the Marketing and Media Travel advertisement (print media) – which will be presented on Sept 15 in Chengdu China.

He also said STB has been shortlisted for the TTG UK Travel Award for Destination of the Year, for which the winners would be known in September. Among the finalists are Brand USA, Cancun and Tourism Australia.

Sarawak will soon play host to a brand new event which will be hosted in Bintulu – the Asia Music Festival will take place at Park City Everly Hotel on October 4 and 5. “It will be an electric mix or ‘rojak’ genre of music plus funfair filled activities targeting Bruneian middle working class, expats from Brunei, Indonesians, Filipinos, Thais and Indians.”

Another positive information that the Assistant Minister shared with media was the expected benefits that the State should get from the launch of a Star Cruise circuit which will make a stop over in Kota Kinabalu from November 12.  “It is also the passenger ship’s inaugural sail from KK and Brunei to Bintulu and it is scheduled to be in Bintulu Port every Tuesday at 1000 hours,” added Mr. Zulpilip.

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Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.