Saturday, December 7

A more holistic approach to stimulate tourism industry

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THE Ministry of Tourism will be taking a more holistic approach to stimulate the industry’s growth by strengthening local niche events and diversifying their marketing strategy.

As of September this year, the state recorded around 3.5 million visitors, out of which 1.9
million were international visitors while the rest domestic arrivals.

“Through various exciting events and more direct flights into Sarawak, we can expect these numbers to increase by next year,” Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said during his ministry’s winding-up speech at the DUN yesterday.

He revealed that the 11.2 per cent rise in visitor arrival to Sarawak this year could be credited to the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014 and Visit Sarawak Year 2013/14.

Other major platforms to promote the state’s tourism potential consisted of public relations, online and electronic communications and public events within Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam.

Throughout the two-year campaign, there were 962 airtime advertisement spots on TV1, TV2, TV3 as well as short documentaries slotted on iTV Astro.

“Promotional campaigns on VMY2014 are published in magazines and books such as Reader’s Digest Asia, Nikkei Business magazine, golf magazine and various in-flight magazines.

“The state is also promoted through short documentaries aired on various television channels such as National Geographic, Discovery Channel and news networks like BBC and CNN,” he said.

These digital and virtual advertising initiatives have put Malaysia and Sarawak on countless websites, travel apps, YouTube, Facebook and many other social media distributions.

Abang Johari said arising from Routes Asia 2014, Dragon Air had organised a recce trip from
May 19 to 21 to assess the feasibility and potential of the destination.

“The airline is considering to establish routes into Sarawak, the proposal awaiting management decision from its headquarters in Hong Kong. My ministry will continue to engage with other airlines and render marketing support and incentives to encourage them to fly into Sarawak,” he added.

He said more regional cooperation would be forged, especially among the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), East Asia Inter-Regional Tourism Forum (Eatof) and Sosek Malindo alliances.

Signature annual events to be upgraded to premier tourist events include Rainforest World Music Festival, Sarawak Regatta – International Dragon Boat, Baram Regatta, Pesta Irau Aco, Pesta Babulang, Borneo Cultural Festival, Borneo International Yachting Challenge, Asia Music Festival, Borneo Bird Race, Pesta Sematan and Borneo International Kite Festival.

He said the ministry together with Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) will undertake key plans to move forward into the competitive Business Events market.

SCB he said will continue to give priority to developing the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) market which won 322 convention bids since 2006 when Sarawak played host to 136,929 delegates and 479,359 delegate days that contributed an estimated RM287 million in direct delegate expenditure.

This year, Sarawak won 36 bids and will bring a total of 14,448 delegates, generating RM24.7 million in direct delegate expenditure.

“We are working on increasing our bid wins through to 2022 and are confident the market is responding positively to our business events offer,” he added.