Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Policies up for review to make SarawakTourism more vibrant

KUCHING: Sarawak is relooking at its strategies and policies to address several issues in the tourism sector and to improve what the state has to offer to visitors.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah pointed out the need to improve the overall standard and quality of products and services within the tourism industry – from accommodation, restaurants, tour guides to packages – so as to grow the sector and make Sarawak a preferred tourism destination.

“Our national parks are very popular with both local and foreign visitors but there is still room for improvement as I notice that the facilities are not up to expectations.

“Things like accommodation, the washrooms particularly, as well as jetties and boats taking tourists to Bako National Park, for instance, need to be improved. The river is infested with crocodiles and I do not want to hear of any mishap,” he told reporters after delivering his presentation on ‘Sarawak Tourism Blueprint’ on the second day of ‘Sarawak Dialogue’ here yesterday, where permanent secretary to his ministry Hii Chang Kee and Sarawak Dialogue organising chairman Adrain Jerome were also present.

Abdul Karim said while the management of most – if not all – national parks are under Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) and not under his ministry, he proposed for a joint management, at least for the parks most frequented by visitors.

“We are still looking into this. While they (SFC) want to conserve and preserve the parks, we want to promote them to the world. So I believe coming together is crucial and will allow us to do all three things (conserve, preserve and promote).”

On another issue, he said tour guides from outside are not allowed to take tour groups or visitors into and around the parks by themselves, as these parks insist on using their own rangers.