86.94pct drop in visitors

Abdul Karim speaks to reporters at the Borneo Cultures Museum. Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: Sarawak has experienced an 86.94 percent drop in number of visitors in August this year compared to the same month last year, revealed Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

“For August this year, the total number of visitors to Sarawak was 44,156, while for August last year we had 338,130 visitors,” he said, adding that July and August were usually peak months for tourists due to the Rainforest World Music Festival and so on.

He also revealed the number of visitors to Sarawak from January to August this year was about a third of the number of visitors in the same period last year.

“From January to August this year, the total number of visitors was 1,078,117. For the same period of January to August last year, Sarawak had 2,915,819 visitors. This is a drop of about 62 percent,” he said.

He told reporters this at the Borneo Cultures Museum here on Saturday (Sept 26) after officiating at the ritual ceremony to move the kelidieng (burial pole) of Kampung Sungai Ud, Dalat from its storage location in Sekama to the new museum.

“But this will not deter us and we will not be disheartened,” he assured.

Abdul Karim explained that all countries were facing the same problem due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the issue was certainly not only confined to Sarawak.

“We will look forward to 2021; it will be just nice with our new museum ready and few other attractions such as the English tea house, water cascade fountain, and so on,” he said.

He believed that Sarawak will see many more visitors next year and the year after that.

In the meantime, he urged local residents in Sarawak to take advantage of the special packages for local visitors under the Sia Sitok Sarawak programme.

“It is very cheap and you will be able to learn about your culture and nice tourism products around Sarawak,” said Abdul Karim.