KUCHING: The Tourism Ministry has been urged to maximize the use of the Sarawak River as an alternative transportation network in the city to help ease traffic congestion around the Kuching Waterfront, as well as enhance the appeal of the state’s tourism industry.
Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) chairman Datuk Seri Muhammad Leo Michael Toyad Abdullah said the state government planned to introduce water taxis as a public transport system for locals and tourists.
Speaking at a reception for a group of media representatives after the launch of the new Sarawak River Cruise package, here yesterday, Muhammad Leo said the initiative would start with 10 to 20 water taxis to meet the needs of locals and tourists.
“The concept is similar to what the Melaka government has introduced. The difference is that in Melaka, water taxis are geared for the tourism sector, whereas, here, we are trying to use them for public transportation as well,” he added.
Muhammad Leo also suggested an increase in the number of cruise ships for the Sarawak River Cruise to further develop tourism and business sectors in the state, which has been dubbed “The Land of Hornbills.”
He said the cruise service was “unique” and had potential for continued progress in the future, particularly as a venue for the government and corporate sectors to organise meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions.
“Sometimes, people want a change, a break from the normal pattern. During those times, they can hold these events onboard the Sarawak River Cruise for a change, and be treated to a spectacular sunset in the process,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sarawak River Cruise managing director Fiona Marus Rasa said the company had only one cruise ship for the service so far, which sets sail from Kuching Waterfront at 5.30pm.
She said the company spent RM1 million to refurbish the vessel, including constructing seminar and meeting rooms.
“Apart from conducting meetings, our clients can also hold wedding receptions, social get-togethers and have dinner onboard the ship, which can accommodate 80 people at a time,” she pointed out.
The cruise offers three packages, namely a Silver Package costing RM148 per person, a Gold Package for RM158 and a Platinum Package for RM198.
Bookings can be made through hotels or directly through the Sarawak River Cruise.— Bernama