KUCHING: The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) and the Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office Singapore (STATOS) are collaborating to revive tourist arrivals from Singapore to the state once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
In a statement today, STATOS said they would work together with MOTAC to explore ways to tap into the lucrative Singapore market, with further tinkering and branding efforts on niche tourism areas in Sarawak that may spark special interest for Singaporeans.
“Alignment of our complimentary resources and intelligence means that the ministry and STATOS can look forward to a healthy strategic collaboration that will shape and accelerate future tourism outcomes from Singapore,”’ said MOTAC Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri during a virtual meeting between the ministry’s officials and STATOS recently.
MOTAC deputy secretary-general Mohd Zamri Mat Zain and Tourism Policy and International Affairs Division deputy undersecretary Yong Ee Chin were present.
STATOS, meanwhile, was represented by its chief executive officer, Chew Chang Guan and deputy chief executive officer Putrie Rozana Soraya.
Nancy said Sarawak stands to buoy its tourism economy and develop new sources of employment post COVID-19 via development of lucrative niche tourism areas, such as trade-linked tourism and food tourism.
“Such areas are certainly promising to develop with the Singapore market in mind,” she added.
In the past decade, the tourism industry was among the largest contributors to Sarawak’s coffers with an input of about nine per cent to its 2019 gross domestic product, or RM11.57 billion, in tourism receipts from 4.66 million visitors.
In September this year, MOTAC announced an allocation of RM48.252 million for 18 new tourism and cultural infrastructure development projects in Sarawak.
Meanwhile, Putrie Rozana said Singapore visitors to Sarawak had grown over the years, registering a seven per cent increase in 2019, and this presented a strong ground to form a structured partnership with MOTAC.
She said based on the favourable growth numbers, Singapore had been an excellent market for Sarawak to tap into not only in tourism but also in trade and investment.
Until the pandemic abates, she said STATOS would continue to inform Singaporeans on the diversified tourism products available in Sarawak.
“Ultimately, we would expect this cross-border, inter-agency partnership between MOTAC and STATOS to give Sarawak an advantageous point of re-entry to the tourism game, once travel conditions are more favourable,” she added.