Sarawak tourism sector among worst hit by Covid-19

Dr Kelvin, Julian and Anthony during their visit to India Street recently

By John Isaac

TOURISM in Sarawak is among the worst-hit economic sectors following the movement controls initiated in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2019 alone, tourism contributed to 8.72 per cent which is about RM11.57 billion to the state’s GDP.

However, from Jan – Oct last year, tourist arrivals dropped by 68.8 per cent which generated only RM2.82 billion compared to the previous year.

According to Julian Tan, the special assistant to Sarawak DAP chief, Chong Chieng Jen, traders along India Street said they were badly affected and many had to reduce their workforce.

“Despite losses, some are trying to stretch through by keeping their workers as long as possible, knowing they have a family to feed.

“We are touched and, at the same time, deeply concerned about their plight,” said Julian.

In view of this, he urged the state government to reach out to more SMEs, small-time traders, and hawkers immediately.

He, along with Bandar Kuching MP, Dr Kelvin Yii and Kuching Dapsy chief, Anthony Chin had earlier visited India Street to better understand the situation on the ground.

During the visit, the trio distributed calendars and Angpow packets in conjunction with the coming Chinese New Year celebrations.

“We also took the opportunity to remind the public to be vigilant in adhering to the Covid-19 SOPs, especially during this festive season,” said Julian.

He also noted that India Street was much quieter without foreign tourists, a sight is hard to be accustomed to considering it was once packed with local and foreign tourists.