KUCHING: Sarawak must take the initiative to promote itself as a tourism destination and stop being too reliant on Kuala Lumpur for promotions, said Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
“If we (Sarawakians) don’t do it for ourselves, nobody else will. We need to find as many ways as possible to attract visitors to Sarawak annually,” he said at the 6th Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards 2013/2014 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) on Sunday.
The Chief Minister said the state had the potential to be the country’s number one tourist destination as it had many things to offer, ranging from its ancient caves and jungles to national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and cultures.
On places of interest in the state, he said the state was practising an open-door policy, meaning everyone should be permitted to visit these places with minimal restrictions.
He pointed out that places such as caves, national parks, reserves and sanctuaries should not proscribe visitors as they were meant to be visited.
“I heard that certain places of interest in the state have restrictions (to visitors). I do not want that in the state as such places of interest are meant to attract visitors to the state.”
On airlines, Adenan said he hoped to see more airlines fly direct into the state rather than going through Kuala Lumpur.
“It can be a hassle for tourists who wanted to come to Sarawak when they first need to go through immigration check points in Kuala Lumpur and another one in the state.”
Earlier, Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, who was also present, announced that a Hong Kong-based airline would be flying direct to Kuching from Hong Kong on a weekly basis as early as February next year.
On the state’s Ministry of Tourism, Adenan praised Abang Johari and his staff for doing their job well.
Also present were Adenan’s wife Datin Patinggi Datuk Jamilah Anu, Assistant Minister of Tourism Datuk Talib Zupilip and Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chief executive officer Datu Ik Pahon Joyik.