KUCHING: Tourism players in Sarawak were yesterday asked to help publicise the tourism events in the state, particularly the 11 major events that would take place this year.
Minister of Tourism and Heritage Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan made the call when launching the Sarawak Calendar of Events 2010.
“There are a total of 39 tourism events this year, and the 11 major ones have the potential to draw in more tourist traffic,” he said.
“I ask that the tourism players help publicise these and not depend on the government alone.”
Dr Chan, who is a deputy chief minister, added that the government would help where it could, particularly in the area of financial support.
“If we can help in some of these areas, we definitely will. We can sit down and work out for a win-win situation.”
The 11 events pegged to be the state’s top tourist magnet include the Mukah Kaul Festival (April 12-25, Mukah), Miri Jazz Festival (May 14-15), Irau Aco (June 1-3, Lawas), Pesta Babulang (June 4-6, Limbang), Borneo Cultural Festival (July 16-25, Sibu), and Rainforest World Music Festival (July 9-11, Kuching).
The other major tourism events are the Sarawak Regatta (July 31 – Aug 2, Kuching), Kuching Street Parade (Aug 2, Kuching), Sarawak Inter-Cultural Mooncake Festival (Sept 17-22, Kuching), Borneo International Kites Festival (Sept 30-Oct 3, Bintulu) and Borneo International Yachting Challenge (Oct 4-9, Miri).
“The tourism players themselves must make sure all these events are made known to tourists. The more they know about the interesting things they can do here, the more interested they are in coming,” he said.
He said tourism packages should include activities that required the tourist’s active participation.
“Today’s tourists are not passive. They like to take part,” he said.
“Most of your packages should involve them in as many activities as possible because they can take back good memories of their visit here.”
Dr Chan said the state hoped to get the number of tourists be increased this year.
“In the last few years, we did not dare to promote Sarawak too aggressively because we do not have some of the fundamentals, like convention centres and hotels. Some of our sites are not prepared,” he said.
But the New Year sees a lot of tourist infrastructure, like the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching and a number of new hotels.
“Now we can promote aggressively. This is the time to promote Sarawak,” he stressed.
Both Assistant Ministers of Tourism and Heritage Datuk Talip Zulpilip and Mong Dagang, as well as the ministry’s Permanent Secretary Ik Pahon Joyik, and Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) president Wee Hong Seng were among those present at the launch.