Thursday, April 9

Gawai a tourism gem


VALUABLE EXPERIENCE: Jane (right) cheering as Abang Johari (second right) hits the drum and Talib (left) beats the gong.

SANTUBONG: The ‘Special Gawai Package’ is expected to put Sarawak on the world map and further stir up some growth in the local tourism industry.

Minister of Tourism Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the package, which will be available now until June 31, promised an invaluable experience for tourists.

“This is an important event because it is the platform of fostering good relationship and harmony between our multiracial people. In addition, it allows people to experience celebrating Gawai.

“This is also a wonderful attraction for visitors to Sarawak and I’m confident that we can be a popular stop for tourists,” he said at the welcoming ceremony for the first group of Gawai revellers who took part in the package at Sarawak Cultural Village on Friday.

Also present were his wife Datin Amar Ju’maini Tun Bujang, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board state director Ahmad Johanif, SCV general manager Jane Lian Labang, and Assistant Minister of Tourism Datuk Talib Zulpilip.

The package consists of various exciting Gawai activities such as miring, lemambang ceremony, ngiling tikai, ngetas pun renyai, traditional cooking and ngabang (house to house visiting).

The Gawai activities will also be complemented with music and cultural dances from the Bumiputera and other ethnic groups in Sarawak.

“This incentive is good because it allows people to stay over at SCV for a few days. The price is reasonable and the experience will be something very valuable.”

Aband Johari is confident that the package would help increase  foreign tourist arrivals even if Sarawak was facing some flight route issues.

“Once this problem is solved and Sarawak is even better connected to the outside world, by 2013 or 2014, the rooms in SCV will not be able to hold everyone who wants to visit.”

He added that this month was the busiest for SCV as many visitors wanted to experience Gawai for themselves, and join in on the World Harvest Festival later this month.