Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sarawak in need of a brand to attract more visitors

THERE is a need to shape and create a brand identity for Sarawak not only as a tourist destination but also as a business event, trade and investment destination.

Minister of Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said based on the feedback his ministry received from foreigners during their numerous trade and travel shows abroad, Sarawak was not as well known overseas compared to Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, Penang or Malacca.

“The approach and strategy need to be holistic and cover as many sectors as possible,” Abang Johari said in his ministerial winding-up speech yesterday.

This was among the immediate initiatives and strategies taken by his ministry in line with the State Transformation Plan and in their effort to transform the tourism landscape of Sarawak.

He stated that in as far as tourism was concerned, his ministry would continue to position Sarawak as a culture, adventure and nature (CAN) destination.

Hence, Abang Johari said the intervention action plans and budget allocation for 2017 would focus on CAN-related infrastructure, facilities, events, festival and products development and enhancement.

In terms of product development and enhancement, he said the national parks would continue to be the most preferred destinations for nature and adventure both among local and international visitors.

Abang Johari noted that from January to September this year, the total visitor arrivals to the state’s national parks were 423,333, an increase of 9.27 per cent with total revenue amounting to RM4.53 million, a 13 per cent increase.

“Of the figure, 80 per cent were domestic while 20 per cent were international visitors. Mulu National Park, Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, Bako National Park, Kuching Wetland, Niah National Park and Matang Wildlife Centre are the most visited by tourists because of their unique geo-system and wildlife conservation.”

He said the state’s Orang Utan conservation effort at Semenggoh Wildlife Centre had also produced positive results with the birth of two baby Orang Utans this year, hence increasing the Orang Utan population which would be an added attraction for visitors.