KANOWIT: The Ministry of Tourism will continue to find initiatives to boost tourism in the state, particularly in rural areas, says Assistant Minister of Tourism (Local Events and Products), Datuk Gramong Juna.
“Rural places in the state are still rich with unique culture and customs as well as home to flora and fauna that cannot be found elsewhere.
“There is much potential to be tapped from our rural areas in terms of tourism,” he said when opening the 4-day ‘Rantau Kemiding Festival’ held at the riverfront near the 65-door Rumah Benjamin Angki here recently.
Gramong, who is Machan assemblyman, said the move by the ministry to include many activities in its yearly calendar of events was part of the initiatives to support the industry.
He told rural tourism operators to take advantage of modern technology like the Internet and communication facilities to enhance their knowledge.
He said they must strive to improve themselves.
On the festival, he commended it as one that would generate incomes for Rumah Benjamin Angki residents who were mainly homestay programme operators.
“I believe this festival will popularise your homestay programme to outsiders,” he said.
Also present were political secretary to the chief minister Maurice Giri, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) Sibu executive Rudy Anoi, Kanowit police chief DSP Ismail Mahmud, Kanowit Information Department head Wan Mohd Zuki Wan Ismail and Tuai Rumah Benjamin Angki.
Among the activities of the festival were beauty queen contest, ‘betaboh’ (traditional Iban music), ‘ngajat’ (Iban dance) and poco poco’ dance competitions, lucky draw, cultural and live band performances.
Also held were longboat races for men and women as well as a powerboat race.