It is without doubt that the recent COVID-19 outbreak has greatly impacted the tourism industry in Malaysia, including Sarawak, with a drop of 52% in its estimated tourist arrivals.
With health and safety placed as the top priority, people are now resorting to teleconferencing to communicate, rather than exhibitions and conferences as previously done. This has urged the authorities to review strategic plans to regain tourists’ confidence.
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Youth and Sports Sarawak, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said that the state is reviewing the industry insights through surveys conducted by the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), Business Events Sarawak (BES) and Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) to analyse the impact of COVID-19 on the industry. It is also looking at ways to improve the current “responsible travel” experience in Sarawak, in addition to being innovative in marketing products after the Movement Control Order (MCO) is lifted.
“Tourism will be slower to pick up its momentum after the MCO is lifted compared to other industries. “It is the right time to do a product audit to improve the standard and quality of current products as well as introduce new products to tourists”, he said, adding that products and packages would be made available on e-commerce platforms by leveraging the Sarawak Travel App and portal.