Wednesday, July 17

Over RM37 million for tourism development

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RELAXING: Locals having a great time at Panchor Hot Spring.

KUCHING: Sarawak gets over RM37 million for the development of tourism under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP).

Of the total allocation, nearly RM10 million is meant for ad hoc tourism projects between 2011 and 2015, said Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos.

“Under the 10MP, RM9.6 million worth of ad hoc projects have been implemented. There are 21 projects throughout the state.

“Tourism is, in fact, the second largest industry in Malaysia after the services industry which contributed 58.7 per cent to the GDP,” he told the press at Panchor Hot Spring in Kampung Panchor, over 40km from here yesterday.

The 21 projects included upgrading works at Wind Caves in Bau, Malaysia-China Friendship Park here, Panchor Hot Spring, Limbang Waterfront, Miri City Fan (1Malaysia Garden) and public parks in Miri.

Dawos, who is also Mambong MP, added that more than RM5 million of the government grants had gone to developing homestay programmes statewide.

“Some 20 homestays are involved and when I say 20 homestays, it does not mean there are only 20 participants.

“If say, each homestay is to have 10 participants, there are about 200 participants to benefit from the allocation.”

Pointing out that the Tourism Ministry emphasised community-based projects, he believed there should be more tourism products in Sarawak to come forth.

He said Panchor Hot Spring is not the sole community-based project in the state as Kampung Annah Rais also has a hot spring, which is well known among locals and visitors.

“There are six to seven community-based projects throughout Sarawak. They are the efforts of locals, developed by Tourism Ministry in line with the government’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).”

When asked to name other community-based projects, Dawos said similar efforts happened in Ba Kelalan and Bario.

“Speaking of tourism in Malaysia, hospitality is the word. Malaysians are well known for their smiles, and it is one of the characteristics of the country.”