Monday, December 9

Orang utan ‘elusive’ on STB’s cobwebbed site

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KUCHING: For this certain Dutch tourist, her rare encounter with the great apes of Borneo turned out to be a RM30,000 walk on the wild side. That astounding price tag would not spark a stampede for Semenggoh Wildlife Camp, which is only a plane and a bus-ride away, but for those in the know about Sarawak.

Tracing the Dutch’s costly experience to a slumber of poor maintenance, the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) has been urged to swiftly update the content of its official website to better inform tourists across the globe.

Making this call with the anecdote, Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Promotion of Technical Education) Datu Len Talif Salleh said he had come upon a Dutch tourist, who claimed spending some RM30,000 to see an orang utan here due to a lack of information on STB’s portal.

“This woman is from the Netherlands and she told me she spent RM30,000 just to see an orang utan in Sarawak. She said it was because there wasn’t enough information on STB’s website or the information available was not up to date.

“In the end, she had to venture her way to locate the area for orang utan and this cost her RM30,000,” he said when closing the Sarawak Map Creator Competition 2014 organised by Politeknik Kuching at a hotel here.

Len Talif pointed out it was also high time for the authority to provide more information on Sarawak tourism through ‘Trip Advisor’, a travel website providing reviews of travel-related content. Trip Advisor also includes interactive travel forums.

“Trip Advisor is an application for many to access worldwide, but there is very limited information on Sarawak on this website.”

He thus called on the organiser to bring both STB and Tourism Malaysia into the mainstream of tourist information in future so that the two agencies could liaise and do more to promote Sarawak and Malaysia.

The government, he said, had spent a great deal on sending officers abroad to promote tourism, adding it would do no harm to fork out a bit more on updating online information particularly with regards to tourist destinations.

“Roads change and this information should be updated on our websites. Unfortunately, we are not the game changer and (are) only using the technology created elsewhere to come up with our own ones.”

Earlier, director of Politeknik Kuching Clara Ong announced two memorandum of understanding (MoU) documents signed between the institution and the Land Surveyors Board Sarawak, as well as Sabah Surveyors Board.

She said the pact would further promote the geomatic field so as to enhance the competency among students in the field.

“Besides, it provides us with a more committed approach to work closely together in order to reach our goal that is promoting land surveying as a profession among the local community.”