Abdul Karim emphasises a point during the press conference. — Borneo Post pic
KUCHING, Oct 16 — The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry is deliberating on how to allow Sarawakians to return to the state without restrictions under the Jom Ke Sarawak campaign launched yesterday, said its minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
He said there may still be those who are apprehensive about entering Sarawak due to some restrictions, although police permits are no longer needed.
“In Peninsular Malaysia, there are many Sarawakians who have not been back here for nearly two years so maybe we will make room for those to come back without restrictions first. We will deliberate on the matter as soon as possible,” he told a press conference yesterday after launching the first interstate campaign since the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, he pointed out the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) would have the final say.
“I’m very sure that SDMC will be able to look at it from various angles and try to accommodate Sarawakians wishing to come back.
“We know there have been a lot of complaints and expressions of displeasure on social media,” he said.
The Jom Ke Sarawak campaign is a joint collaboration between the Sarawak Tourism Board, Sarawak Tourism Federation, Association of Sarawak Inbound Agencies, and Shopee Malaysia.
According to Abdul Karim, earlier tourism campaigns Sia Sitok Sarawak 1 and 2, which offered discounts of up to 50 per cent for Sarawakians, had received very good feedback.
“The feedback from Sarawakians was that they were able to spend time and enjoy the beauty in their own state.
“We also have Sia Sitok Sarawak Accommodation intrastate staycation campaign, which is also for Sarawakians allowing them to stay at participating hotels and resorts at discounts up to 50 per cent. We have gotten very good feedback too,” he said.
For Sia Sitok 1, which was launched last year, 942 bookings were made involving 5,664 people, while for Sia Sitok 2 there were 507 bookings involving 3,623 people.
For Sia Sitok Accommodation, 2,122 room bookings have been received since Oct 1.
On a separate note, Abdul Karim said he would visit Lusong Laku near Belaga to see its potential for tourism.
“The area is very beautiful. I have a lot of admiration for it even though I have not been there before. That’s why I’m looking forward to my trip.
“The only problem is logistics as it takes six to seven hours by road to reach there and there is no accommodation, which is why I’m going by helicopter. It will take me an hour from Bintulu,” he said.
Abdul Karim described the area as a unique beauty spot akin to Niagara Falls.
“I don’t find any river in Sarawak like that. If it’s to be opened as a tourism site, I’m very sure it will be able to pull in the crowd in the future, once we have the infrastructure and connectivity,” he added. — Borneo Post Online