Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Sarawak - Always a welcoming state


THREE months ago, Eunice Sandi-Moyo led a delegation comprising members of the Zimbabwean industry and tourism players from the province of Bulawoyo to Malaysia to explore potential business collaborations.

The provincial affairs minister, together with her entourage, made a pit stop in Sarawak to search for an “indigenous set-up of cultural tourism” module, which perhaps, could be applied in Bulawayo, which is the second largest city in Zimbabwe.

Sandi-Moyo’s group did not know what to expect when they arrived at Kuching International Airport as the trip was their first to the Land of the Hornbills.

“All I see are wonders, including the warmth of the people here,” she said at a dinner hosted by the state government in conjunction with her visit on March 17.

All this while, she had only heard about and adored the greenery of the forests and richness of Sarawak’s biodiversity from advertisements on television and in magazines.

Her appreciation of natural resources was understandable as Bulawoyo is also the gateway to Matobo National Park — a 44,500ha reserve housing the Matobo Hills rock formations and stone age cave art, which were recognised as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation World Heritage Site in 2003.

She also spoke on the richness of the diverse cultures in Sarawak, which she concluded after the group’s visit to the Sarawak Cultural Village in Santubong and a handicraft centre in Petra Jaya.

“What is great about your state is you keep welcoming. There is so much that I want to say.

“We are so amazed that we want to be the ambassador to those who have not visited the state before,” said Sandi-Moyo in calling for collaborations between Sarawak and Bulawoyo to promote tourism in both places.

Sandi-Moyo’s views on Sarawak had been expressed by many international and local figures, who were impressed with the state’s natural treasures and its racial integration among people from diverse cultures.

Among them was 1Malaysia Foundation trustee Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, who acknowledged that the integration of various ethnic groups had helped to develop the state in many sectors, including tourism.

“Apart from Sabah, Sarawak is a good example of what the people can do to bring about greater integration and unity in helping to promote moderation.”

Lee said this was among the reasons that compelled the foundation to declare Kuching the first “City of Unity” in the country.

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