Monday, August 8, 2022

Smooth sailing for Visit Sarawak 2019 campaign

Secara Rawak

KUCHING: Since its launch on Dec 31 last year, the Visit Sarawak 2019 campaign is progressing well.

According to Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, there has been a remarkable increase in the number of “quality tourists” coming in the first four months of this year.

On March 9, Youth and Sports Assistant Minister Datuk Snowdan Lawan who represented Karim at the launch of Alta Moda Sarawak had announced that the state recorded an increase of 10.72 per cent in tourist arrivals – a total of 326,347 – in just three months.

“I don’t really have the specific statistics at the moment but it will be revealed in my winding up during the State Legislative Assembly sitting,” he told the reporters after the official opening ceremony of Aeroville Mall in Jalan Stutong Baru here, yesterday.

Karim explained that “quality” visitors are those who would stay for few nights in Sarawak like tourists from Singapore and China unlike tourists from Brunei and Indonesia who would come only for the day and go back to their own country before night falls.

“These tourists (from Brunei and Indonesia) would only come over the weekend to do shopping and go back in the evening. The moment the border closes, these tourists are taken into account for calculation of overall tourists to Sarawak.

“Generally, our effort to bring in more tourists through Visit Sarawak campaign is successful and we hope the number is peaking up as well as reaching the target by year end,” Karim said.

When asked about the events in similar plan, Karim said that there’s just too many to be listed out because right from January, Sarawak had held many big events such as the 23rd Asian Television Award (ATA) and the 4th Premier 101 International Charity Arm-wrestling Championship.

“There will be events held every month. It could be related to sports, culture and even Mice (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions).

“For the rest of the year, we have the usual events such as What About Kuching (WAK), World Amateur Badminton Tournament, Kuching International Marathon, Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF), Rainforest Fringe Festival, Borneo Jazz Festival, Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival. These events have garnered followers of their own,” he stated.

He also added that RWMF has hit the target of more than 20,000 followers and 30 per cent of the total number are visitors outside the state. Apart from that, another music festival coming up and was very well supported is the Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival. The event managed to sell out all tickets in the previous two editions therefore Karim hoped that its third edition will also be a “sold out” affair.

Karim further stated, “We will try to promote Sarawak in terms of events and eco-tourism. We cannot promote Sarawak only by its beaches as we don’t really have good beaches as compared to Sabah or Australia. However, we can promote Sarawak on its diversity, culture and environment.”

Touching on the opening of Aeroville Mall, Karim stated that there are times we need to have more shopping complexes and eateries.

“That is the reason why my recent speeches have been focusing on telling food operators to open up more eateries because we cannot afford to just have one or two famous eateries such as Top Spot.

“Culinary is considered to be very important part of tourism where people want to taste the kind of food available in certain places. Of course, the tourists usually come over to places they want to see but in addition are the two things, namely food and culture.

Karim expressed his joy in seeing that the Aeroville Mall is making effort to help in becoming tourists’ attraction especially when it is also very close to the airport. To him, Sarawak does not need high-end shopping malls but the kind of products sold must complement the tourists’ needs.

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