Monday, October 25, 2010

Sabah and Sarawak Step Up Tourism Promotion At ITB Asia Fair

Sabah and Sarawak tourism promotion agencies and tour-related companies put on a strong show at the just concluded ITB Asia Fair, the largest tourism fair in this region, to capitalise on the resurgence of tourism.

For instance, Rajang Pandaw River Cruises of Sibu, Sarawak, which offers unique river cruises along the river, received many business enquiries following its presence at the fair.

Rajang Pandaw Chief Executive Choong Hing Yim told Bernama that his "floating hotels", as he described his river boat cruises, were popular with Australians, Americans, Britons and Europeans.

"Most of my clients are well-placed retirees who are not affected by the economic crisis," he said.

Miri Marriott Hotel Senior Sales Manager Josephine Ooi said given that Miri was renowned for oil exploration, especially with a growing cluster of expatriates settling in the region, there was good potential for the MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibition) business.

Her hotel, which has the requisite infrastructure and facilities to hold over 500 guests at a time for MICE events, received many enquiries from European tour operators and "promising enquiries" from India.

Sarawak is keen to promote its MICE facilities and the Kuching-based Sarawak Convention Bureau sent Amelia Roziman, its marketing and communications manager, to make a pitch for Sarawak MICE facilities at the fair.

Amelia said that her bureau had been "highly successful" because it had achieved a 70 per cent success rate as far as bidding for MICE events was concerned.

"We not only have hotels but also the Borneo Convention Centre, which has a 5,000 seating capacity theatre-style. We are organising conferences such as the International Peatland Congress in 2016 and International Convention of Urban Drainage and the Irrigation Fair in 2012," she said.

Sarawak's rich and renowned wildlife, Amelia said, had also generated tremendous interest among Western and Australian wildlife lovers.

Sabah Tourism Board (STB) Marketing Manager Noredah Othman was pitching for Sabah's wildlife, adventure tours and new products such as Via Ferrata, the highest mountain road in the world.

Noredah, a regular visitor to ITB Asia and had also attended the ITB Berlin show, said that her presence in Singapore was meant to provide Sabah with higher visibility internationally.

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