Sarawak government is embarking on a tourism master plan study to position Sarawak as one of the preferred tourist destinations in ASEAN through its own Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), a first for a federated state in Malaysia.
In front of the State legislative assembly, Sarawak tourism, arts and culture minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said there would be a new strategy to cover the years 2020 to 2035 as the Borneo State is looking to redefine its appeal to travellers. The evaluation of Sarawak tourism performance and potential through the Tourism Satellite Account is designed to measure goods and services according to international standards, concepts and classifications.
Considering the importance of comprehensive, data-oriented tourism assessment and effective policy formulation, the ministry has been working with the Statistics Department to develop a TSA for Sarawak. This will be a first for a federated State in Malaysia.
The complete systematic framework of Sarawak tourism is expected to be launched in December according to a report from the New Straits Times in Kuala Lumpur. “We are proud to be the first pioneer state in Malaysia to have its TSA,” Abdul Karim said reported the NST during his presentation speech in front of the state legislative assembly.
Abdul Karim said healthcare tourism provided lucrative opportunities to the local private hospitals and medical practitioners, apart from benefiting the tourism and hospitality industry. “As of October, Sarawak received 34,100 health visitors generating a total of RM47.60 million receipts, where most of the visitors came from Indonesia, followed by China, Philippines and India. “We hope to bring in more healthcare travellers with the launching of Malaysia Year of Healthcare Travel 2020.”
Up to the end of October, Sarawak received 3.76 million visitors arrival with an increase of 4.59 per cent as compared to the same period in 2018. The top five sources of visitors were Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and China.
In conjunction with the Visit Malaysia Year 2020 campaign, Sarawak aimed to achieve five million visitor arrivals with RM8.18 billion tourism receipts.
Abdul Karim indicated that the state’s national parks will continue to be upgraded. “The upgrading of the visitors’ facilities at Samajaya Nature Reserve was completed in September and the centre is now open to the public. The redevelopment project for Fairy Cave Nature Reserve and Wind Cave Nature Reserve is ongoing and is expected to complete in the third quarter of 2020,” he highlighted.
National parks have recorded a total of 369,630 visitors including 110,634 were foreigners from January to September of this year.
In another development, the Minister indicated that the first electric bus (e-Bus) service in Sarawak began its trial operation in March and has been a true success for locals as well as travellers. The service covers 26 stops around Kuching with more routes to be launched by next year with an extended network of 54 stops.