Sarawak banks on rich biodiversity to boost tourism, says ministry official


13th WIEF

KUCHING: The tropical rainforest in Sarawak – recognised as the oldest of its kind in the world – still has many ‘gems’ that have yet to be discovered and explored.

Permanent secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datu Ik Pahon Joyik said the state is banking on this attribute, along the ‘myths and mystery of Sarawak rainforest’, through its tourism tagline: ‘Sarawak — Where adventure lives’.

“It (Sarawak) is blessed and is rich in ecosystem and biodiversity,” he spoke during the ‘Sarawak Focus’ session of the 13th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) at Borneo Convention Centre (BCCK) yesterday, where he presented the paper entitled ‘Sarawak As A Premium Tourism Destination’.

Ik Pahon said the state government strives to conserve and practice sustainable management of the island environment, seeing that Sarawak holds great potential as a premium destination for tourists through the consolidation and strengthening of its existing products and services.

“Sarawak can become the world’s last bastion of pristine environment. Our Unesco World Heritage-status Gunung Mulu National Park and other national parks possess their own unique features and content as far as geosystem and wildlife are concerned. Other must-visit national parks other are Bako National Park, Semenggok Wildlife Sanctuary – famous for its orangutans, Gunung Gading National Park famous for its Raffalesia, and the Niah Caves – famous for being a key archaeological site where human remains dating 40,000 years ago have been discovered.”

Ethnically, Ik Pahon said Sarawak is home to 27 different communities – each practising their own traditions, festivals, food and lifestyles.

“For food lovers, Sarawak is a culinary haven. They can also enjoy our hospitality first-hand; for example, they can experience this during stays at the longhouses.”

Ik Pahon also took the opportunity to encourage the forum participants to help promote Sarawak to the world.