Allowing tourists to experience Gawai Dayak boosts Msia’s tourism potential, experience, says tourism minister

Photo credit: Tiong's official Facebook page

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KUCHING, June 1: Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister Dato Sri Tiong King Sing urges Sarawakians who are celebrating the Gawai Dayak festival to open their hearts and embrace friendship in order to entice tourists to savour their cultural traditions and showcase them on an international stage.

Tiong emphasised that allowing tourists to experience the Gawai Dayak celebration increases Malaysia’s tourism potential and enhances the Malaysian tourism experience.

“Many people say they don’t know enough about the customs of the Harvest Festival, and that the Dayak culture of Sarawak is shrouded in myth and legends to them.

“Yet, the fertile Bornean land is home to a wealth of ethnic and cultural practices born from its majestic rivers and breathtaking mountains.

“As Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, I am delighted and enthusiastic about sharing this wonderful Dayak culture with the people,” he said in his Gawai Dayak message on Facebook yesterday.

He asserted that the Sarawak peoplea’s continued unity, rich multi-culturalism, and shared prosperity will be the keys to living and working in peace and harmony.

Tiong, who is also Bintulu MP, expressed his excitement for another meaningful and joyful Gawai Dayak celebration.

“Despite busy schedules and long distances, our time-honoured tradition of visiting longhouses during the Harvest Festival season continues.

“As the most sacred cultural festival in Sarawak, this is a significant season of celebration and giving thanks for a good harvest.

“This is also a time for friends and family who are working or studying far abroad to come home and take part in the festivities. So, how can I miss this rare opportunity to reunite with friends in celebration?” he remarked.

He said the genuine fellowship he felt from the Dayak community allows him to forget about his other concerns for a short time when he returns to his hometown.

“I wish all of you, Selamat Hari Gawai, Gayu Guru Gerai Nyamai!” he added. — DayakDaily