By Chew Lip Song
HOW do you balance between spurring the tourism industry, hit by the Covid-19 outbreak, and mitigating the risks of tourists bringing in the disease to the local community?
It’s a fine balancing act, but the Sarawak government went ahead and launched the ‘Stay @ Miri N Get Rewards’ promotion yesterday to lure more Brunei tourists to the city bordering the oil-rich kingdom, the New Sarawak Tribune reported.
Initiated by Tourism Malaysia Brunei in collaboration with Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) it offers rebates of RM50 per room per night from March 13 to May 31 this year with the participation of seven hotels in Miri.
It was launched by Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting and Tourism Malaysia Brunei director Ibrahim Seddiqi Talib.
“We are hoping that this newly launched promotion could help boost up Brunei tourists arrival to Sarawak, particularly Miri, amid the Covid-19 outbreak,” said Ibrahim when met after the launching.
In terms of tourist arrivals to Malaysia, Brunei ranked fifth behind China. Top the chart is Singapore, followed by Indonesia and Thailand second and third, respectively.
“In 2018, Brunei tourist arrivals were 1.38 million or RM3.44billion, and the figure has slightly dropped in 2019 to 1.216 million,” he said.
Following the Covid-19 outbreak since January this year, he expected the numbers to further drop.
Also present at the launching ceremony was STB’s chief executive officer Sharzede Datu Salleh Askor.