Thursday, June 20

Catering to growing number of tourists

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Abang Johari (fourth left) inserts a giant ‘room key’ as a gimmick to launch the Riverside Majestic Hotel Astana Wing yesterday. Also seen (from left) are Len, Abdul Karim, Dr Sim, Aziz, Talib and Soedirman. — Photos by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: The state tourism industry received a major boost with the official launch of the ‘Riverside Majestic Hotel Astana Wing’ to cater to the growing number of tourists arriving in the state.

At the launch of the hotel’s Astana Wing yesterday, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the four-star hotel will benefit from future attractions and urban renewal projects, mainly along the Kuching Waterfront up to the Padungan area.

“The service must be majestic, because we are staying in a palace (Astana) in a very strategic location,” he added.

He revealed that the hotel will be managed by Sarawak Economic Development Corporation

(SEDC), which has played a pioneering role in the transformation of the state’s tourism industry since its formation 46 years ago.

According to him, SEDC has taken the lead with the development of Sarawak’s first international class hotel in 1976 which was the Holiday Inn Kuching – now known as Grand Margherita Hotel – and the Holiday Inn Damai Resort (Damai Beach Resort) in 1986.

He believes the addition of the Astana Wing is a timely move by SEDC to keep abreast with the competition and to maintain its role as a major player in the state’s tourism industry.

With the new wing, he added, hotel guests will be able to visit the iconic Darul Hana bridge on foot while enjoying the beauty of the city along the Waterfront.

He mentioned that among future beautification projects in the area is the cascading water feature that will be built near the State Legislative Assembly building.

On the technological front, he applauded SEDC for adopting ‘Sarawak Pay’ e-wallet for payments at the hotel – the first of its kind in Sarawak.

In view of the state government’s roadmap to enhance airline connectivity in Sarawak, Abang Johari suggested that SEDC tap into the medical tourism sector.

Abang Johari (third right) and other guests enjoy a tour of the Riverside Majestic Hotel Astana Wing after the launch yesterday.

“SEDC can provide accommodation for those seeking post-medical treatment – a place where patients can stay as well as receive treatment such as physiotherapy,” he added.

He mentioned Thailand has wellness resorts to tap into the medical tourism segment.

“I hope that SEDC will be able to identify a land (for the niche industry),” he added.

In his speech, SEDC chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Aziz Husain informed that their biggest investment is in tourism and the hospitality sector which accounts for more than RM450 million or 74 per cent of their total investment.

“We have decided to name this SEDC wholly-owned hotel ‘Riverside Majestic

Hotel Astana Wing’ for the simple reason that it commands a majestic view of the Astana Negeri, State Legislative Assembly building, Darul Hana bridge, Sarawak River as well as Gunung Serapi and Gunung Santubong in the background,” said Aziz.

To further compliment the hotel’s new wing, he said SEDC has decided to name the existing wing the ‘Puteri Wing’ to add an air of majesty and identity to the two properties.

“To facilitate the movement of guests from one wing to another, we have added a pedestrian

bridge linking the two wings at Level 5 of the Astana Wing to Level 6 of the Puteri Wing,” he added.

He said the Astana Wing houses 272 fully serviced guestrooms, including Astana Suites, Executive Lounge floors and a club lounge, and three fully equipped multi-purpose function rooms suitable for various events.

On food and beverage, he said the new wing has the Sape Restaurant at the lobby floor, Sky Lounge on the 17th floor and a fine dining restaurant on the 18th floor.

“Both these outlets offer panoramic view of the city and outlying areas,” he added.

On another note, he disclosed that the Riverside Majestic Hotel has been awarded the Asean Green Hotel Standard 2018-2020 by the federal Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

“We will continue our efforts in this initiative as more customers are now aware of environmental issues,” he added.

Also present at the launch were Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, Minister in the Chief

Minister’s Office (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip, Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh, SEDC chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Abdul Aziz Husain and SEDC general manager Datu Soedirman Aini.