SIBU: The Asean Tourism Forum (ATF) 2014, which is being held in Kuching, is great for the state’s tourism industry due to its international spotlight.
Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Talib Zulpilip, who said this, hoped more of such events would be held in the state in future.
“Sarawakians should take advantage of such events,” he said when asked to comment on Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz’s statement that ATF 2014 would raise Sarawak’s profile in terms of tourism and would benefit its travel industry and local communities.
“I fully agree that this event will give Sarawak additional exposure among tourists. Firstly, we are part of the overall Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY 2014).
“I consider it (ATF 2014) a great start for tourism in Sarawak and a superb exposure as well as opportunity indeed,” said Talib, who is also Jepak assemblyman.
Mohamed Nazri also said the state was fast gaining popularity as a must-visit tourism destination amongst international and domestic travellers, and was generating more than four million visitor arrivals annually.
In fact, the state’s foreign receipt from tourism in 2012 totalled RM6.2 billion.
Mohamed Nazri added that ATF 2014 was also a premier international event to usher in VMY 2014.
The eight-day event was attended by tourism ministers from Asean countries – Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Their dialogue partners, China, Japan, Korea, India, Russia and Brazil are also tagging along.
All in all, about 1,600 delegates and 150 journalists from all over the world are attending this international gathering.
“I am sure all Sarawakians share with me their joy of having so many visitors.
“We must thank the federal government, especially Datuk Seri Nazri, for this very kind effort and gesture,” said Talib.