Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Borneo World Music Expo to act as yardstick to to gauge tourism potential

KUCHING: The inaugural Borneo World Music Expo (BWME) which ends tomorrow will act as the yardstick to gauge the potential of business tourism in Sarawak.

The expo which revolves around trade, networking, information dissemination and business side of the entertainment industry is also a prelude to the 16th Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) from June 28 to 30.

“It is high time that we climb up the value chain by bringing in more business tourists,” said Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chief executive officer Datuk Rashid Khan prior to the official launch of the expo at Pullman Hotel on Monday night.

Business tourism in Sarawak, said Rashid, is one of the major contributors to the state’s economy as business tourists tend to be big spenders as compared to leisure tourists.

He also said STB is aiming to make BWME a premium world music expo in Asia just like the annual Rainforest World Music Festival, which is among the top 25 international festivals listed in Songlines Magazine from the United Kingdom.

Among the key highlights of BWME, said Rashid, is the keen participation of Sarawakians in the expo, which is already a measure of success.

Also speaking was Assistant Tourism Minister (Local Events and Products) Datuk Gramong Juna, who described the expo as a brilliant idea to bring all the cultures of the ethnic groups in Sarawak under one roof and share them with the world.

“Besides showcasing their talents, BWME will also give a chance for local acts to be highlighted at the international stage,” added Gramong.

The expo, which is supported by the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau, is open to anyone who wants to build networks, share, distribute their press kits and create more awareness of their own music events.

In an unrelated event, STB is also mooting to organise events during the off-peak tourist season forecasted to be between Sept and Nov.

Among the plans is the Asean Music Festival which will be staged in Miri.

Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) is also mulling to organise an International Ethnic Drum Festival in the near future, which according to its commissioner Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai is to infuse music, art and culture among the local community.

“This is part of the bid to seek out the ‘soul’ of Kuching City,” he said.

In a press conference yesterday, BMWE event consultant Gerald Seligman said an event like the inaugural BWME can help bring the local music scene to a higher level.