KUCHING (June 27): The Sarawak government will support all efforts meant to establish Sarawak as a premier golf destination catering for both domestic and international enthusiasts, says Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
He added that in view of many major sports events being organised and run in the state throughout the year, promoting Sarawak as a premier golf destination would be ideal to drive the tourism industry.
“If we introduce Sarawak as a golf destination, it is just not about participating in tournaments here but also about attracting people who come here for the sake of playing golf and leisure,” he said in his speech for the launch of the new Sarawak Golf Tourism Association at a hotel here yesterday.
Abdul Karim, also Minister of Youth, Sport and Entrepreneur Development, said countries such as China, South Korea and Japan did not have the ideal weather for them to become all-year-round golf destinations.
In this regard, he said a multi-party approach must be adopted to develop Sarawak into becoming a premier golf destination, with close cooperation with travels and tours agencies, hoteliers, golf clubs and Sarawak Tourism Board.
“As far as the ministry is concerned, we’re willing to finance and promote if it (having Sarawak become a premier golf destination) could reach a certain level whereby our tourism industry can go up much higher,” he said.
Abdul Karim, who previously was an avid golfer, also listed out a number of locations in Sarawak that could be developed into good golf courses, such as parcels of kand between Sematan and Telok Melano, as well as in Kapit.
In this respect, he hoped that the packages and infrastructure developed as part of the plan to make Sarawak a premier golf destination would be as successful as the just-concluded Rainforest World Music Festival, with made its debut 26 years ago with only a crowd of 300.
“The launch of Sarawak Golf Tourism Association, coupled with the efforts of my ministry and Sarawak Tourism Board, is sure to put Sarawak on the map as a top golf destination, attracting visitors from all over the world,” he said.
Meanwhile, the association’s president Philip Yong believed that there were plenty of opportunities across the major urban centres in Sarawak for golf to be developed on a variety of excellent courses, supported by world-class facilities.
“Beyond the promotion, the association will also strive to hold golf tourism events and exhibitions within and outside of Sarawak, as well as contribute to the improvement of golf and tourism facilities in Sarawak,” he said.
Among those present yesterday were Abdul Karim’s deputy ministers Datuk Snowdan Lawan and Datuk Sebastian Ting, and Sarawak Tourism Board chief executive officer Sharzede Salleh Askor.