KUCHING: The Rainforest World Music Festival 2017 (RWMF) has recorded an eight per cent increase in ticket sales this year.
According to Kalaka assemblyman Datuk Abdul Wahab Aziz, who is Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chairman, the number of pre-sale tickets this year is up by 1,440 from the 18,000 sold last year.
“This does not take into account ticket sales at the festival gate yesterday, today and tomorrow – the trend looks encouraging, to say the least,” he told reporters yesterday at Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) – the hosting venue for RWMF.
Acting STB chief executive officer (CEO) Mary Wan Mering and its director of events and corporate relations Angelina Bateman were among those present.
Mary disclosed that various promotional campaigns like the #hashtag, those aired on Singapore’s radio stations and the extensive use of social media, had contributed to the increase in visitor’s arrival.
“Our early bird ticket sales, with a good discount of RM88 per ticket, are meant to give back to local community so that they can enjoy the festival too,” she said.
Responding to a report that locals constituted 70 per cent of festival-goers, Mary said air accessibility remained a major challenge that must be overcome, so that more tourists could come not only to this festival, but also to Sarawak.
“We are working with various airlines to enhance air connectivity. Currently, Singapore is the only hub with direct flight to Kuching. I believe once we overcome this issue, it would boost more tourist arrivals to Kuching and Sarawak, definitely,” she said.
It is learnt that the RWMF, which enters its 20th year, is touted among the top 25 world music festivals over the last six years. On this, Mary assured all that the organisers would strive even higher for the festival.
“More importantly, the world can expect more from Sarawak in terms of development for its culture and nature in the near future.
“The national parks are undergoing tremendous facelifts – they include Bako National Park, Matang Wildlife Centre and Mulu.
“The state is also coming up with more products focused on cultural and arts development, which are important components in promoting Sarawak to the world. We will see more of these elements in tourism in one or two years’ time,” she added.
Earlier, Abdul Wahab pointed out that the objective of creating RWMF was to promote Sarawak as the region’s premier destination that emphasised performing arts and preservation of culture.
“It’s a world-class event that could generate profits for the local businesses, communities, sponsors and individuals.”
Moreover, Abdul Wahab said the organisers would look forward to hosting next year’s festival, scheduled to run from July 13 to 15.