Sunday, December 15

Cascading waterfall at Fort Margherita mulled

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KUCHING: The Tourism Ministry has instructed Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) to bid for government allocation for building a cascading waterfall within the vicinity of Fort Margherita in Petra Jaya here.

Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg said the commission would be expected to submit a formal request under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) to Putrajaya.

“I have requested DBKU to construct a cascading waterfall in the area of Fort Margherita with the lights on at night. This will have a certain impact on the environment in the area,” he said when opening The Ranee Boutique Suites in Main Bazaar here yesterday.

Abang Johari believed with the waterfall, Fort Margherita would be able to attract more tourists.

Up to June this year, he said the state registered two million tourist arrivals, 60 per cent of whom were foreigners.

He expressed confidence that it would be able to welcome over 4.3 million visitors by the end of this year.

“As of June 2014, we already had two million tourists coming to Sarawak.

“This also marked a 10 per cent increase over the figure attained last year, which means, we will get more than 4.3 million tourists by the end of the year.”

He said the majority of arrivals comprised leisure tourists wanting to admire the beauty and nature of this state, while the rest were business and medical tourists.

On business tourism, Abang Johari disclosed that there were still 57 outstanding bids to organise conventions in the state.

“The Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) has become one of the top convention centres in the country. In fact, it is the second preferred choice after Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

“Many want to have conventions in Sarawak because they have seen what the state can offer, such as a combination of business and leisure based on picturesque environment and eco-tourism that is different from our competitor Singapore.”

On the other hand, Abang Johari pointed out that the state’s medical tourism had been thriving over the years with more and more patients opting for professional medical services offered here.

“That is why we have medical specialist centres such as Timberland Medical Centre, Borneo Medical Centre and Normah Specialist Medical Centre.

“Many say the treatment here is good, our doctors are very professional and the price is competitive. More importantly, they can breathe fresh oxygen here as post-treatment is vital for them, especially during therapy,” he said, adding that his ministry would also be looking into working with hotels such as those in Damai on therapeutic offerings.