Saturday, March 12, 2016

Sarawak eying Asean, East Asia tourism markets

KUCHING: The state Tourism Ministry is working to position Sarawak in the Asean and East Asia markets as its priority areas for 2016, said Sarawak Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“While we still promote the state to the European market, we would also want to concentrate more on our neighbours particularly Asean and East Asia.

“We are penetrating into important hubs such as Singapore and Hong Kong. As you know, we will have direct flight to and from Hong Kong starting next month. Hong Kong is the gateway to southern China, so these are cities where we want to concentrate in improving connectivity. We also hope to tap into the Mongolian market.

“We also expect other airlines to join the bandwagon. In fact we are negotiating with a few,” he said at the official opening ceremony of the 8th Matta Fair 2016 at Boulevard Shopping Mall yesterday.

According to Abang Johari, a Sarawak Week would be held in Singapore in May.

“As part of the campaign, five Singapore buses will be wrapped with Sarawak logo and themes and they will go around Singapore for a month. It will be an aggressive campaign which we are working with Singapore Tourism Board and Silk Air,” he said.

The ministry would also aggressively use Information Technology (IT) in its promotions throughout the world, he added.

Abang Johari disclosed the ministry would look into upgrading all facilities in national parks including Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, Bako National Park, Fairy Cave and Wind Cave, besides promoting more of the highlands and interiors of the state.

He pointed out that as tourism had been identified as an important sector in the state’s economic development, the services sector could provide jobs for the 15,000 unemployed in the state.

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