‘Turn Gawai Dayak celebration into tourist attraction’


KAPIT: The tourism authorities, including Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), should start promoting the annual Gawai Dayak celebration as a tourism product.

In making the call on Saturday, Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) Kapit chairman Joseph Jinggut said Gawai would make a good tourism draw as it is colourful and celebrated by the various ethnic groups of Dayaks.

“It (Gawai) showcases our rich ethnic cultural and traditional heritage, and I believe the traditional music, baking skills, and brewing of alcohol are things which could woo tourists,” he said at the Pre- Gawai Dinner 2013 at the Kapit Civic Centre.

Joseph, who is also the organising chairman of the celebration, said when agencies such as STB and the people work closely together, efforts to turn Gawai into a tourism attraction could be achieved.

On the recent appointment of Kapit MP Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi as Deputy Minister of Regional and Rural Development, Joseph said Nanta deserved what he was getting as “he is a good leader, is humble, approachable, capable, and has good working relationship with leaders and people on the ground”.

“Alexander is also outspoken and as such he can relay the voices of Kapit in terms of our needs and aspirations.

As a deputy minister, he shoulders a heavy responsibility to bring many development projects to Kapit and the whole country.

“We have very high expectations of him to bring more basic infrastructure and amenities here.”

About 850 people attended the gathering which was organised by SDNU Kapit.

Entertainers such as renowned Iban recording artiste Melissa Francis, popular Iban group Masterpiece and cultural presentations by dancers from Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA), Orang Ulu National Association (OUNA) and SDNU had guests glued to their seats.

Joseph said among the activities drawn up to celebrate this year’s Gawai celebrations were the presentation of study incentives to students for doing well in public examinations, and `Ai tuak’, ‘pua kumbu’, handicrafts, ‘betabuh’ (traditional Iban music), and traditional Iban cake making competitions.

To boost the celebratory ambience here, a month-long fun fair had been set up at the old airport site while game stalls lined Kapit Town Square.

Nanta, Kuching Division Temenggong Datuk James Jimbun Punggat, Temenggong Lau Kah Kee, Kapit Resident Dahim Nadot, Song District Offi cer Galong Luang and Deputy Walikota of Kapit District Council Jefferson Jamit were among those present.