Sunday, June 20

Visit Sarawak Campaign Year a success — Minister

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KUCHING: Looking at the number of people coming to Saarwak due to the many events run all year round, the Visit Sarawak Campaign Year could be considered successful, opined Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

“I would say it’s successful – it is not just numbers that is important; when people are happy and satisfied, they feel that their money is well spent… It is the feel-good feeling.

“You can see from January 2019 until today, where this year is our Visit Sarawak Campaign (launched on Dec 31 last year), we have something going on every month. There have been so many events throughout the year, including those at the international level,” he said during the press conference on ‘Best of Asean Designers 2019’ (BOAD2019) – an international fashion festival that would take place here this Sept 6-8.

The big events held thus far included Miss World Pageants, Asian Television Awards, the ongoing What About Kuching (WAK), Kuching Festival, Borneo Cultural Festival, International Dance Festival, the just-concluded Kuching Marathon and Rainforest World Music Festival.

Upcoming events would include the Spartan Race next month – the first time it is held in Borneo and is targeting 3,000 participants – as well as the opening of the new Sarawak Museum, touted as the second largest of its kind in South East Asia.

“You can see the spin-offs that Sarawak is going to have out of this, and we can see quite a marked increase in visitors to Sarawak and this is good,” said Abdul Karim.

Unlike Peninsular Malaysia, he viewed, Sarawak is so vibrant with so many activities going on.

“Probably if you go to Peninsular Malaysia, things are not really moving. In Sarawak, it seems to be not a problem – quite vibrant! I know quite a lot of friends who are small-time contractors in Peninsular Malaysia; they find it difficult to make ends meet, even our ministry’s office has seen flocks of event management companies coming in from Peninsular Malaysia because there is no business there.

“This reflects good management by the state,” he said.

Moreover, Abdul Karim said despite the poor air connectivity, people are still coming to Sarawak in numbers more than that seen during the same period last year.

‘There is already quite a marked increase, especially in domestic tourism from Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah coming down to Sarawak for holidays; even the number of Singaporeans coming to Sarawak has shown a marked increase.

“On connectivity, we are still working on it, although we cannot mention or go overboard because we have not ended those contracts, but we are really working it out with quite a number of airlines from Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and China. It will be announced as it goes,” he said.