Thursday, July 18

Sarawak’s budget river cruise making waves

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KUCHING: Barely three-months in operation, a river cruise touted as the state first-ever budget cruise is raising eyebrows among established cruise operators.

Wholly-owned by Koperasi Lan Berambeh Sungai Bedilku Kuching Berhad, a cooperative operated by a Malay village located in Kuching City, it is now eyeing to expand its appeal in the domestic and international markets.

The cooperative’s chairman Zamahari Saidi said among the winning features of the cruise since it started operations in March were affordability and flexibity factors.

“We are charging as low as RM15 per person and if they want a river cruise together with beverages, then it will be RM35 per person for a one-and-a-half hour trip,” he told Bernama here yesterday.

Zamahari said the cruise offered flexibility as passengers could request to be picked up at any river jetty as long as it was on the route.

He said the popularity of the cruise was fast catching up as the number of passengers has risen from a total of 330 passengers in March to 347 in April and 589 in May.

He said the 70-feet-long and 10 feet wide wooden cruise boat cost about RM120,000, had a 24-horsepower Yanmar engine and could accommodate 40 passengers and a crew of five.

“In the middle of this month we will sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with travel agents here to further promote our service,”he said.

He said the MoU would be the first step to enhance its appeal in the tourism industry as it allows travel agents to provide special tourism packages that included the budget river cruise.

“We are also planning to upgrade our facilities so that the cruise can be a place for meetings, seminars and karaoke sessions,” he said.

More information can be obtained by calling 082-443748, Zamahari at 019-3673774 or Putra Jaya 019-8771993. — Bernama