Sunday, September 11, 2011

Visitors flock to Gawai Tourism Open House

THE recent inaugural Gawai Tourism Open House at Kampung Annas Rais in Padawan attracted more than a thousand visitors — both local or foreign.

The event was jointly organised by the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Tourism and Heritage on September 3 and launched by Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk James Dawos Mamit.

A lot of activities were lined up for the day and both domestic and foreign tourists alike were impressed with the traditional and cultural programmes put up by the Bidayuh community.

The activities, held at the Kampung Annah Rais longhouses, started at 3pm and ended at about 2am the next day.

One of the highlights was a traditional Bidayuh dance performed by the womenfolk from Kampung Semban in Ulu Padawan.

The Gawai Tourism Open House was aimed at promoting the homestay programme in the village to help boost the local tourism industry. There are presently 13 homestays in Kampung Annah Rais, according to the organising chairman Edward Kurik.

He pointed out that the Gawai Tourism celebration was to promote the Bi-Anah culture which includes Anah Rayang, Semeru, Sadir, Simuti, Dunuk, Bisira, Sibakar and Tepoi.

“We showcase the local cultures that are related to the tourism sector such as cultural performances, playing of traditional musical instruments and traditional games,” Edward added.

A German tourist named Alexander said as a first-time visitor, he was impressed with all the cultural activities planned and would definitely tell his friends and relatives about them when he returned home.

“I’m impressed with the dances, music and musical instruments. The people are very friendly and my friends and I will bring home fond memoraies of their warmth and hospitality,” said the Frankfurt native who stayed at one of the homestays for a few days to enjoy the scenery and environment, including the Annah Rais Hot Springs.

Alexander’s views were shared by his friend, Gemma, from Barcelona, who said she never expected to have an experience “like no others” during her visit.

“Thanks to our tour guide who recommended this nice place and wonderful event, we really had fun watching the cultural performances.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Visitors flock to Gawai Tourism Open House

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