KUCHING (Aug 15): A new building for conventions and exhibitions will be built here, said Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
“We have decided to extend our convention centre with another building that will allow not only conventions, but also exhibitions. It (will be) the right place for exhibitions in Kuching.
“We hope it will be completed by the year 2024 because we are going to have a major convention on hydrogen here,” he said at the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) dinner hosted by the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) on Monday night.
Abang Johari also said the state government wants to build another convention centre in Miri and noted these are a lot of investments it is investing into the services sector.
“Having said that — what is our policy in attracting tourists besides natural attractions such as national parks? What should we do in attracting tourists?
“Do we want mass tourists or selected tourists? We must differentiate between mass tourists and selected tourists,” he told dinner attendees.
Abang Johari said Sarawak is going for prime tourists — the selected tourists.
“That is why we organise business events and all these (events such as) Rainforest World Music Festival. These are special tourists, not mass tourists.
“Even though you don’t have the number (with prime tourists) but it is normally the mass tourists who don’t want to pay high while the prime tourists will pay for prime products. They don’t mind to pay,” he observed.
Touching on the price wars often talked about in the hotel industry, Abang Johari said it also depends on what kind of tourists that hotels are trying to attract.
“If you go for mass tourists, you will get this sort of problem in terms of prices in hotels.
“For the Sarawak government, we go for that (prime tourists) but we have to upgrade our infrastructure to give them the ‘oomph’ feeling,” he said, citing examples of the roads and bridges being built across the state.
Also present were Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Hii Chang Kee, STB chairman Dennis Ngau, STB Chief Executive Officer Sharzede Datu Salleh Askor, Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak) CEO Amelia Roziman, MAH national president Christina Toh, MAH Sarawak Chapter chairman John Teo, and others.