By Rosh Abidin Yahya
Bandar Seri Begawan - Tourism players should capitalise on the "unexpected" element the region possesses as such a strategy could attract many Western tourists who are looking for adventure, said Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan.
He told participants of BIMP-EAGA Business Council (BEBC) Tourism Cluster Meeting in Miri last Tuesday that the Sarawak government was always supportive of the role played by the private sector, particularly in promoting the sub-region of Brunei Darussalam, Sarawak, Labuan, Sabah, Mindanao and the provinces of Kalimantan and Sulawesi.
Dr Chan was speaking on behalf of Sarawak Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud at the opening ceremony of the BEBC Tourism Cluster Inaugural Meeting at Parkcity Everly Hotel in Miri.
More than 60 participants took part in the meeting including BEBC country directors for Brunei Darussalam - Dr Hj Kamaruddin Dato Talib, Hj Ismail Hj Damit and Hj Osman Hj Omar-and council member, Sulaiman Samad.
Dr Chan said Sarawak would provide the necessary infrastructure and flexible policies in putting the East Asean Growth Area on the tourism roadmap for the sub-regional cooperation between Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
He said the Sarawak government has put a lot of energy into transforming Miri into a "resort city" as the main gateway to the northern region. Miri is situated in the middle of the BIMP-EAGA region.
He added that the importance of tourism in the region is undeniable as the industry provides direct employment opportunities and has the multiplier effect on other sectors.
"Tourism will act as a catalyst for growth and generate employment as well as revenue in this sub-region," he said.
Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin