Saturday, December 7

‘RWMF is here to stay’

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Abdul Karim (centre), flanked by Sharzede (left) and Yu, during the press conference. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: After 22 years of success, Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) has now been established as a major international world music festival and is set to continue to be staged for years to come.

This was stated by Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah who also noted that the festival has managed to sustain itself throughout the years.

“I was informed that during its first year, there were only 300 festival goers attending the festival – throughout the years the numbers kept increasing and up until last year, 22,000 people went to the festival.

“To be able to sustain itself through two decades is quite commendable, and I am happy to see that RMWF has reached its 22nd year,” Abdul Karim said during the RWMF 2019 press conference at 11 Ridgeway here yesterday.

He commented that the festival has reached its peak number of visitors due to the limited size of the venue of the festival, which takes place at Sarawak Cultural Village.

“With the 20,000 visitor mark, we have more or less reached the maximum number of festival goers visiting there.

“We’re unable to reach much further due to some limitations, most notably the size of the festival venue.”

With the state’s tourism initiatives, promotional activities and the Visit Sarawak Campaign that was launched December last year, he hoped to see more tourists coming to the state.

“Under the five elements of CANFF (Culture, Adventure, Nature, Food and Festivals), our promotional activities that we have done for Sarawak are not to make it as a shopping paradise to tourists.

“RWMF captures all the five elements of CANFF, and in turn the festival goers will visit other tourist hotspots situated outside of Kuching and throughout Sarawak.

“Last year, the festival has brought in 22,000 visitors – 40 per cent of them consisted of non-Malaysian visitors such as those who came from Europe.”

Abdul Karim commended Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) for their efforts to promote three festivals under the ‘Three Festivals, One Destination’ initiative in an effort to have more visitors to the state.

“With Rainforest Fringe Festival, RWMF and Borneo Jazz Festival all taking place in July this year, tourists especially festival goers will definitely extend their stay here to visit the festivals during the month.”

He also announced that the state government will be supporting the festival with the introduction of SarawakPay.

“Through SarawakPay, the state government is encouraging cashless mode of payment and serves as one of the payment options for the purchase of online tickets as well as items sold at the festival.

“By using the app for their transactions at the festival, festival goers will get up to 15 per cent cashback.” Also present during the press conference were Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin, STB chief executive officer Sharzede Datu Saleh Askor and RWMF production manager Yu Puay.

This year’s RWMF will feature a line-up consisting of 39 bands and rarely-seen performances from countries such as Jamaica, Nagaland from north-eastern India, Bhutan, Estonia, Canary Islands, west Kalimantan in Indonesia, Mauritius and the Ainu Culture of Japan.

What About Kuching (WAK) will also make its return at the festival.

Tickets are now available for purchase at www.rwmf.net