Tuesday, June 25

Be IT-savvy to make S’wak top choice among tourists

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KUCHING: The state’s tourism industry players must be information technology (IT) savvy and innovative in tailoring their products in order to make Sarawak the top choice among travellers.Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chief executive officer Datuk Rashid Khan said they must let the whole world see what they have to offer.

In this, linking to Sarawak Travel at Facebook would be an alternative.

“Through Sarawak Travel at Facebook, tourism players can promote and market their products…so they must embrace technology.

“More and more tourists go online for travel information and with higher internet penetration across the globe, our tourism players have to leverage on technology,” he said during an industry engagement session hosted by STB at a hotel here yesterday.

Rashid pointed out that it was equally imperative for tourism stakeholders to focus on their customers’ needs and subsequently come up with quality packages to lure in more people to the state.

Sharing some fresh ideas, he wondered if any travel agents had thought of setting up tents at Padang Merdeka here as an option to overcome accommodation congestion during peak demands.

He, however, added that such proposal could  materialise only with the understanding and collaboration of local councils.

“Sometimes, our policy and decision makers do not understand what the tourism industry needs,” he said, while encouraging tourism players to be creative and set impossible targets for better achievements.

He stressed that the state “has much more to offer” and the key is in how tourism industry stakeholders fully utilise the prevailing resources and networking.

“We have a lot of unique selling proportion that can bring tremendous benefits to the industry as well as the people of Sarawak. It is all about how we do things professionally, such as enhancing our products and to ensure quality service delivery.”

While Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) and Miri Jazz Festival are among the annual international events on Sarawak tourism calendar, he said industry players should think outside the box for more creative events.

“Come up with more events to brand Sarawak. Instead of Jazz Festival, maybe Rock or Pop Festival,” he enthused.

Rashid admitted that air accessibility was one of the challenges Sarawak faced.

To address this issue, he said industry players could focus on charter operations during peak seasons.

He also felt that tourist guides in the state must regard themselves as the ambassadors for tourism.

“Tourist guides are like Sarawak’s ambassadors. The moment they welcome travellers, it is their obligation to entertain tourists and make them happy,” he said.