STB gears up efforts to grow S’wak gastronomy tourism

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Sharzede (fourth right) and Ibrahim (third right) flag off the Blue Pool Expedition during Brahim’s Outdoor Programme in Santubong here today.

KUCHING (Nov 26): Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) is gearing up efforts to forge more collaboration and partnerships to further grow and develop Sarawak’s gastronomy tourism field.

STB chief executive officer Sharzede Datu Salleh Askor said the board wants to initiate more partnerships with private and social sectors in order to work together in making Sarawak the premier destination of choice for tourists from around the region.

“Being the first city of gastronomy in Malaysia and the region, we are very happy. Recently, our Kuching gastronomy team has looked into frameworks. So, what we are going to do is we will work very closely with those who are looking into the gastronomy area,” she told reporters during a press conference in conjunction with the launch of Brahim’s Outdoor Programme in East Malaysia at Permai Rainforest Resort in Santubong here today.

While she welcomed more collaboration, she said the work must establish a meaningful relationship to ensure the effort will boost Sarawak’s image as a preferred gastronomy tourism destination choice.

“You have to remember that Sarawak Tourism Board is the state’s marketing and promotional arm for the industry.

“What we should do is amplify each other. We need to know the area of focus and figure out what activities are relevant.

“For example, find out what are the activities of the gastronomy festival that is currently available near a certain area so that we can combine our activities and amplify the marketing and promotional activities, rather than working in silos,” she explained.

Elaborating further, Sharzede said the board would look into proposals that promote responsible and sustainable tourism development.

She said this was important in terms of building awareness and interest in Sarawak’s products and destinations.

“This is definitely an area that we are going to focus on. As you know STB has five pillars; culture, adventure, nature, food and festivals.

“When we have companies that come with a proposal that includes the element of gastronomy, we will study the proposal and evaluate how we can leverage such proposals and platforms; or activities and initiatives to position Sarawak’s gastronomy tourism.

“Amplification of our strategies is very important. Therefore I think we have sat and discussed with the person in charge and we hope in 2023 we will move forward,” she said.

Meanwhile, on the launching of Brahim’s Outdoor Programme in East Malaysia, Sharzede said the board is looking forward to expanding its partnership with Dewina Group, a leading halal food and beverage industry player.

She said the company’s move of choosing Sarawak as its first destination for its outdoor programme provides an opportunity to keep Sarawak at the top of adventurous travelers’ minds.

“For the Brahim’s Outdoor event, we want to find what we can do to facilitate it, especially when it comes to responsible tourism events.

“We want to know how we can collaborate as hikers and trekkers are a niche market, not everybody is into these outdoor activities,” she added.

When asked if STB has any plan to produce Laksa Sarawak ready -to- eat-meal as part of its effort to develop Kuching’s gastronomy field, Sharzede said the board will look into it.

“I hope there will be more chances to collaborate with Dato’ Seri Ibrahim (the executive chairman of Brahim’s Dewina Group) in future. In order to produce Laksa Sarawak ready- to-eat- meals, research and development is very important.

“I would love to see how Dewina Group can work with us in terms of collaboration, not only in food but also in terms of sustainability and gastronomy tourism,” she said.