Monday, September 02, 2013

Sarawak eager to tap hinterland tourism


KUCHING: International consultants and tourism experts are conducting studies in the hinterland to ascertain the tourism potential of Bakun and other potential dam sites.

Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said these studies might lead to the building of resorts in these places, including Murum and Baram.

He said the studies would take about one to two years to complete as it involved many technical and environmental aspects.

Speaking to reporters after launching ‘Malaysian Craft Promotion 2013’ at Kuching Waterfront yesterday, Abang Johari said the state was keen to have air taxis (amphibious aircraft) to boost its tourism appeal.

He said the state recorded a 17 per cent increase in tourists arrivals during the fi rst six months of this year compared to the same period in 2012.

The increase was also partly due to the many conventions held in the state.

These quality tourists, he noted, tend to stay back for a few days after the convention to visit national parks and places such as Batang Ai.

The availability of amphibious aircraft would lure more tourists to the rural areas, and this would be good for the rural populace.

Abang Johari believed Lubok Antu, for instance, could become a busy township if amphibious aircraft fl ew to Batang Ai.

He added that he had discussed with MASwings’ chief executive offi cer Datuk Capt Mohd Nawawi Awang on the possibi lity of turning their old Twin Otters into amphibious aircrafts since the airline had recently purchased new Twin Otters.

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