Friday, February 10, 2006

Mystical Sarawak To Lure Metropolis Singapore Visitors

By Jackson Sawatan

SINGAPORE -- Sarawak, known as the Land of the Hornbills, is out to lure Singaporeans to visit the state, promising travellers exotic destinations, exciting adventures and a chance to peek at what could be Singapore's past.

In a special presentation on Sarawak to a group of Singapore tour operators here on Wednesday, Sarawak Tourism Board marketing manager Mary Wan Mering said that the largest Malaysian state could offer a rich and diverse tropical ecosystem just a stone's throw from the island state.

"Kuching, the Sarawak state capital, is just 1 hour 15 minutes of flight from Singapore and is served by Malaysia Airlines and SilkAir," she said.

From Kuching, tourists would be able to visit nearby attractions such as the Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre in Semanggang. which is just a short drive away from their five-star accommodation in the state capital.

"We are a contrast for Singapore. Kuching is perhaps what Singapore was more than 20 years ago. So visiting the state capital of Sarawak is like going into Singapore's past," she said.

Besides its rich natural heritage, Sarawak is banking on a host of other selling points, including its rich cultural heritage, adventure attractions as well as ample meeting, incentives, convention and exhibition (MICE) facilities.

"We have 16 national parks, each with its own attractions. So when you visit one, you would need to visit the others to see it all," she said.

Being a huge state, many of Sarawak's attractions were also located in the interior which is accessible by road, air or river transportation.

Travelling in big groups on a chartered flight would not be a problem as there were good airport facilities recently refurbished in Sarawak towns, she said.

During the two-hour presentation organised by STB and the Tourism Malaysia office in Singapore, the tour agents were also treated to Sarawak's songs and dances as well as a video presentation on what the state has to offer.

Present was Tourism Malaysia Singapore director Rafidah Idris.


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