Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Sarawak’s hidden gold mine – budget tourism

MIRI: Sarawak should take a close look at budget tourists as a major source of revenue for the local tourism industry.

In trying to draw tourists to the state, the right steps have been taken to increase flights from Singapore.

“Budget tourism is big here. It has great potential which many people here do not realise, but it’s disorganised. It is also being ignored and neglected,” said 48-year-old former pilot David Bennet from New Zealand who talked to The Borneo Post yesterday.

David described budget tourism, which is associated with the image of backpackers, as the second top earner in his home country New Zealand after its traditional dairy industry.

“Malaysians generally expect big-spending tourists to come in private jets or a typical tour package,” said David who is also helping his wife, Pauline Maran, a Kelabit, in running The Highlands, a modestly furnished budget lodge located on the third floor of the same block of building as the Wheels Cafe in the Water Front commercial centre here.

David is a very experienced pilot who had developed an interest in flying at 14.

He started flying in New Zealand since he was 19, and had flown aircraft as a career for 30 years.

“Sarawak has all the right attractions for the budget tourists who are mostly backpackers from Western countries, and who prefer to wander off on their own to explore the country,” he said.

Continue reading at: Sarawak’s hidden gold mine – budget tourism

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