Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sarawak's traditional craft can draw international visitors to boost rural economy


KUCHING: Sarawak’s traditional beads have the potential to be a tourist attraction besides boosting the rural economy.

Tourism and Heritage Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state’s bead-making industry, mainly found in the northern region, had yet to reach wide exposure beyond local shores.

“I feel it is time for us to expose the value of our beads in terms of their heritage and potential economic value,” he said when announcing the second Borneo International Beads Conference yesterday.

Johari said his ministry was currently in the planning stages of developing the rural economy through ecotourism, and that beads could play a part.

“One of the economic activities in rural areas is making beads. If we add value to bead-making, such as ensuring quality and good design, it can be an attraction that will lure tourists to visit the rural areas. The community can participate in rural economy by producing high quality beads that have a certain value,” he said.

As such, Johari said the conference from Oct 7 to 9 was a platform for the ministry to work with bead enthusiasts in promoting and developing the local bead industry.

“They can do research on the economic potential of beads and whether beads can become a designer item. A lot of research also needs to be done on bead making itself.

“Ultimately, if we have the infrastructure, Kuching or Sarawak will be known as a regional centre for bead research. That is the long-term plan,” he said.

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