Abang Johari: Tafi Convention excellent way to increase Sarawak’s visibility in Indian market

Abdul Karim (third right) receiving the Torch Bearer of Tourism Malaysia award at the Tafi Conference 2022 welcoming gala dinner last night (Sept 20).

KUCHING, Sept 21: The Travel Agents Federation of India (Tafi) Convention 2022 is a good place for Sarawakians to connect and promote the State’s visibility in the Indian market.

Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg stated this in his speech at the Tafi Conference 2022 welcoming gala dinner last night (Sept 20) held at the Borneo Convention Centre (BCCK) here, which was delivered by the Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts Sarawak Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

“With a 304 per cent increase in visitor arrivals from India from January to July 2022 compared to the same period last year, we are certain that this is a step in the right direction to attract more Indian tourists to our shores in the future,” Abang Johari explained.

He continued by saying that Sarawak is a relatively unexplored destination for tourists and visitors from India.

“For first-timers to Sarawak, we take pride in our five tourism pillars which are Culture, Adventure, Nature, Food, and Festivals or CANFF in short.

“Of course, this is also an added value for Sarawak to be a venue of choice for destination weddings, corporate events, or even as a potential Bollywood film location due to its unique blend of cultural insights, vast geographical landscape, and an array of outdoor activities that are suitable for all ages,” he added.

Abang Johari emphasised further that the Sarawak tourism industry will unquestionably continue to demonstrate its responsible tourism and sustainability efforts to ensure the preservation of its priceless heritage and culture for a very long time.

“This is also in line with our current Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030 and the theme of Tafi Convention 2022 – Build Back Better,” he noted.

Furthermore, he pointed out that Sarawak tourism focuses on highlighting the unique and raw experiences that emotionally resonate with visitors, with many of them fondly recalling their one-of-a-kind experience.

“India and Malaysia are linked by various cultural and historical ties that date back to the 5th century, and we have traditionally been close and friendly.

“Our Indian community’s history in Sarawak dates back to the 19th century during the Brooke dynasty, and they have made significant contributions to the heritage that makes up our beautiful Sarawak,” he acknowledged.

The Premier of Sarawak also mentioned the Mount Matang Mariamman Hindu temple, the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple at the junction of Batu Lintang and Rock roads, the Gurdwara Sahib Kuching, the floating mosque, and India Street as places associated with the Indian community in Kuching.

Meanwhile, the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) stated in a press release that over 500 Indian delegates and speakers have arrived in Kuching for the three-day Tafi Convention at BCCK.

Additionally, the Tafi Travel Biz Monitor Tourism Awards were also presented at the dinner to recognise prominent figures who have made significant contributions to the tourism industry.

Abdul Karim was one of the two recipients of the Torch Bearer of Tourism Malaysia award, while the Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture Malaysia Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri was the recipient of the Global Ambassador of Sustainable Tourism award.

STB chief executive officer (CEO) Sharzede Salleh Askor and Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak) CEO Amelia Roziman were among the five recipients of the Super Women of Tourism.

Besides that, the Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee also received the Special Recognition Award for his pursuit of excellence while championing the cause of tourism in Sarawak.

Among those present were the Deputy Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts (Tourism) Sarawak Datuk Sebastian Ting, Tafi president Ajay Prakash, Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia Shri BN Reddy, and Abdul Karim’s wife Datin Sri Zuraini Abdul Jabbar. — DayakDaily