STB selling Sarawak’s nature to lure Aussies

OPENING CEREMONY: (From left) Loong, Rashid and Shahrin beat the drums to launch the event.

KUCHING: Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) hopes to tap into Australians’ love for adventure and nature by bringing them to Sarawak.

Tourism Malaysia, Sydney director Shahrin Moktar said that many Australian tourists have been flocking to Sabah in search of sun, sea and adventure.

“We want them to look into extending their stay to include Sarawak,” he said yesterday during a press conference after the launch of a business matching session between Sarawak and travel industry players from Australia and New Zealand.

Sarawak is one of the top five destinations in Malaysia, besides Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Sabah and Langkawi, and local tourism players were putting all efforts to boost its rating.

Record showed that 580,000 Australians visited Malaysia last year and had contributed RM2.4 billion to the tourism industry. Out of that number, roughly 17,000 had visited Sarawak.

“This year, we are targeting 660,000 Australian tourist arrivals in Malaysia,” Shahrin said.

A group of 25 product managers from Australia and New Zealand travel fraternity met with local industry players yesterday to establish products and services they can promote back home.

STB aimed to promote Sarawak as a destination for those who appreciate what nature has to offer them.

According to STB CEO Dato Rashid Khan, their visits also gave them the opportunity to experience Sarawak.

“They must come and experience it for themselves so they are comfortable at marketing it to their clients,” he said.

The trip was made possible with the support of Tourism Malaysia Sydney, Malaysia Airlines and Accor Hotels.

Also present were MAS Sydney Marketing and Media manager Julia Loong and Tourism Malaysia Sarawak state director Ahmad Johanif Mohd Ali.

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