KUCHING (Nov 12): The Sia Sitok Sarawak Discounted Tour Packages campaign has to date generated more than RM681,082 in sales with 569 tour packages sold for 3,167 persons, said Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting.
He said the campaign was launched by the Sarawak government as an initiative to revitalise the state’s tourism sector affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Although the Covid-19 outbreak has caused some concerns especially for our ‘Sarawak More to Discover’ campaign, my ministry has responded to the current situation by a quick review of our marketing strategies which include turning our promotional and marketing initiatives to domestic tourism by launching Sia Sitok Sarawak Discounted Tour Packages and to encourage more Sarawakians to choose Sarawak as a preferred holiday destination.
“The campaign was also part of Sarawak tourism’s stimulus measures to give a boost to the local tourism industry and a good way of sustaining and maintaining the tourism eco-system for the industry players such as tourist guides and park guides, drivers, tour operators and restaurants during these challenging times,” he said in response to a question by Datuk Tiong Thai King (PSB-Dudong) at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Sitting today.
He said apart from the Sia Sitok Sarawak Discounted Tour Packages campaign, the Visitor Incentives Programme (VIP) is another incentive measure to support the revival of tourism in Sarawak after Covid-19.
“It is an incentive created for interstate to provide Sarawak travel agencies or tour operators with support for its tourist arrivals, both domestic and international.”
He pointed out that the criteria for VIP included that the travel agencies or tour operators be a registered trade company and is licensed by the federal Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
He said during this low season of post Covid-19, his ministry has continued to invest timely on the ups killing and continuous capacity building of tourism industry players through digital related marketing courses, frontliners ups killing courses, community-based tourism, business events digital education campus and handicraft skills training.
Other measures are online ecosystem funding, product updates, Regional Specific Tourist Guide courses in Kuching Miri and Sibu, and e-Pelancongan courses on tourism awareness, responsible tourism, business events and Sarawak tourism ambassador.
“The enhanced knowledge, skills and attitude will prepare our tourism industry operators and frontliners for the return of the visitors in the near future,” added Ting.
With the new norms globally and reopening domestic tourism, he said the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has regularly worked out with the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) on the necessary standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the gradual opening of the tourism industry.
“Some of the SOPs relevant to the tourism industry include SOPs for tour companies, tourist guides, hotels, homestays, museums, national parks, theme parks, creative industry production, official government and private function, live events, music/dance/theatre schools, photography studios, MICE and health tourism.
“This is to ensure that my ministry plays the role of gaining tourists’ confidence to travel safely in Sarawak during this period,” he said.