KUCHING, Malaysia - The Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) is targeting 60,000 young Singaporeans to visit the state through its Integrated Singapore Programme (ISP). Board chief executive officer Datuk Rashid Khan was optimistic that the figure could be achieved with cooperation from AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines (MAS).
"AirAsia has resumed flights to Miri while MAS has a connecting flight from Miri to Kuching. With 126 flights in a week, the target is not impossible to achieve.
"People like low-cost airlines and STB provides the marketing support to them. Firefly also flies four times a week from Kuala Lumpur," he said at the board's Chinese New Year dinner.
He said ISP, launched last October, was targeting Singaporean students.
Rashid also said Sarawak was ranked No. 2 after Kuala Lumpur as the main domestic tourist attraction. The domestic tourism sector was worth about RM90.5 million (S$37 million).
"Domestic tourism is a huge market. Domestic arrivals have increased 18 per cent compared with one per cent in 2009.
"This is a plus point considering the present political turmoil in Egypt. Tourists are also wary about the natural disasters in some countries.
"The disruption of air travel following a volcanic eruption in Iceland last April and the severe winter in parts of Europe and the United States recently are other factors."
Rashid also said the board projected a 36 per cent increase of foreigners staying at hotels, especially from regional markets Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and India.
On its partnership with local travel operators and hotel operators, Rashid said the board had planned initiatives for the year and had worked on packages for the Borneo jazz festival in Miri and the Rainforest World Music Festival here.
-New Straits Times