KUCHING (Sept 14): Despite the bleak reality of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sarawak has secured business events up until 2022.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the state has a total of 88 business events secured for the years 2020 to 2022.
“So our business events for the next two years will be there apart from other forms of tourism.
“It’s quite promising and this is where I strongly believe that places like the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) will be able to benefit from business events that will be held here until 2022,” he said after officiating BCCK’s Size Matters Campaign at the convention centre here today.
He pointed out that this year, only three events were cancelled while the rest will proceed on as planned.
“I’m quite surprised that there are only three cancellation which means that they are proceeding with the event or postponing them.
“This means that 95 per cent of business events for 2020 will still be ongoing and they are not cancelling it altogether,” he said.
Abdul Karim also touched on the arrivals of visitors to the state for last month which saw Sarawak recording only a total of 44,156 visitors, compared to 338,130 in August 2019.
“Even in July, which is normally our peak month, we only recorded 72,000 visitors this year and normally we will record more than 400,000 visitors as this is when visitors will visit Sarawak for our events such as the Rainforest World Music Festival,” he said.
Nevertheless, the Asajaya assemblyman said he was optimistic that the number of visitor arrivals to the state will increase now that flights into Sarawak have returned to normal.
“Before this, we restricted flights from Kuala Lumpur to only two flights per day and now that the flights have resumed, there will be at least 2,000 visitors coming in to Kuching per day starting from September 1,” he said, adding that the ministry is expecting a slight increase in visitors from September to December.
He acknowledged that “there’s not much hope for this year as far as tourism or visitors is concerned” but at the same time, he remained hopeful next year will be a better year.
“We are focusing more on next year as a lot of events such as music events are being shelved to next year.
“If in the event that Malaysia or Sarawak is able to address the Covid-19 problem nicely and if next year, the pandemic is also addressed globally, I think that things will improve,” he said.
Also present were Borneo Isthmus Development chairperson Datuk Raziah Mahmud Geneid, BCCK executive director Tan Sri Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee, Borneo Isthmus Development director Dato Steve Ng and BCCK chief executive officer Eric Van Piggelen.