Capitalising on Sarawak’s tourism opportunities
For Sarawak to succeed in providing new tourism opportunities in order to attract more travellers and reach its target, it will have to resolve the issue of air connectivity. In its 2012 report on the state, Inside Investors highlighted that the Sarawak government and its Sabah counterpart were in agreement with Malaysia Airlines Systems Bhd (MAS) subsidiary MASwings to be East Malaysia’s own airline.
The latest developments indicated that this was the right decision. With added air capacity, the state could evolve into a tourism destination of choice for people who were not necessarily looking for the usual mass treatment but more for adventure, nature, cultural heritage and festivals.
Sarawak has recently found a niche in the so called musical tourism by staging several events the most famous of which were the Rainforest World Music Festival and the Miri International Jazz Festival. Both events are big draws for people who otherwise will probably bypass Sarawak compared to other tourism destinations.
“One other area is eco-tourism, which is part of the state’s development plan for the tourism sector. The government has indicated that all industry players will have to be responsive to the new plan, as it aims to create Sarawak’s own niche market to make its tourism offers more attractive,” Inside Investors enthused.
Meetings, incentives conferences and exhibitions (MICE) sector is also gaining traction. This form of tourism in Sarawak could be easily related to projects in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), an area in which the Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) was focusing on. As far as the conferences related to SCORE, there would be, for example, the upcoming Hydropower Association conference in Kuching in May.
The government would use this as a platform to showcase how they could move forward in terms of hydropower utilisation and related technologies. All the events around SCORE offer a perfect opportunity for stakeholders to network with others who were also active in sub-sector business.
The Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) responsible for the conventional tourism, hopes to see more funds allocated for the tourism sector in the future. Under the Tenth Malaysia Plan, the state government had allocated a five year RM30 million fund to cover all tourism activities as well as its operation costs to the board, which made RM6 million a year. This was however deemed too low by STB which meant that funds need to be raised from private investors to ensure the tourism industry stays on track.
Source: BorneoPost Online – http://www.theborneopost.com/2013/03/26/capitalising-on-swaks-tourism-opportunities/