KUCHING (Dec 24): This year has marked a turning point for Sarawak’s tourism industry since the pandemic struck in 2020, with the state transitioning into the endemic phase following the reopening of the borders in April this year.
In stating this, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chief executive officer Sharzede Salleh Askor said for the period between January and November this year, her agency had secured 2,307 pieces of coverage, generating an estimated 1.15 billion ‘eyeballs’ (viewership reach) and RM87 million in public relations (PR) value in media coverage and ‘out-of-home’ media.
“In terms of digital outreach, as at November 2022, we accumulated over 361,760 followers across all STB’s digital platforms, attracted over 404,000 web visitors, and achieved over 93.5 million impressions worldwide across our various different online platforms and digital marketing campaigns.
“I am also happy to share with you that we have surpassed our target of 1.2 million visitors for 2022,” she said in her speech for STB’s Media Night at a hotel here on Thursday.
She added that from January to November this year, STB recorded more than 1.6 million visitor arrivals into Sarawak, an increase of over 900 per cent from the number recorded in the same period last year.
“In terms of tourism receipts, from January to November 2022, Sarawak had recorded RM3.87 billion, versus RM537.17 million for 2021.
“This is certainly a strong indication that Sarawak tourism is undergoing a healthy recovery stage as we prepare for 2023,” she said, adding that the STB would be looking forward to the return of ‘purely physical’ Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF), to be running from June 23 to 25 next year.
She said RWMF 2023 would bring back ‘all the fun and enjoyment of an iconic music festival’, together with an underlying message of responsible tourism.
“It covers creating a zero-waste music festival by implementing sustainable practices like banning single-use plastic products, upcycling used materials and also exploring innovative solutions to waste management.”
In addition, she said the STB had also been actively championing the ‘Community Based Tourism’ (CBT) initiatives by engaging with licensed and registered longhouses in the rural areas.
“Additionally for 2023, with Sarawak’s waterfall attractions becoming trending tourism hotspots, we are working very closely with our stakeholders into developing them to be more accessible and family-friendly.
“We must also not forget the nomination of the 65,000-year-old Niah National Park to be included in the Unesco World Heritage list, and the process is already in its final stages,” she said, adding that these are only a few of the many exciting initiatives set to take place next year.
Sharzede also said: “STB is working hard on positioning Sarawak as a world-leading ecotourism destination while working closely with tourism stakeholders to engage them in responsible practices in line with our Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030 and the Third Sarawak Tourism Master Plan.”
Themed ‘Winter Wonderland’, the STB’s Media Night gathered some 150 media practitioners not only from Kuching, but also from Sibu and Miri.
Also present was the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak permanent secretary Datu Hii Chang Kii.