By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Sept 19: A 18-member cultural dance troupe from Sarawak is heading to New Delhi to participate in various events organised by the High Commission of Malaysia in India, in conjunction with the Malaysia Day celebration.
Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah welcomed such collaborations and exchanges that provided opportunity and avenue to promote Sarawak as a tourist destination to the world.
“With the troupe’s presence, I am sure Sarawak can make in roads into India so to lure more tourists to Sarawak,” he told a press conference after receiving a courtesy call from the troupe at Baitulmakmur building, here, today.
“Even though the number of tourist arrivals from India to Sarawak is quite small, as we have not been promoting to India, it is a fast growing country and there is a potential in the middle class, apart from the upper class market,” he added.
With this kind of promotion, Abdul Karim hoped it would be able to bring up the number of tourists from India. Sarawak recorded 17,448 visitors from India as in August this year.
He said the exchange was a great opportunity for Sarawak to build good relations with the arts and culture fraternity in India, as well as strengthening ties with the High Commissioner in India.
During the 10-day visit to India, the Sarawak cultural troupe will showcase performances that reflects the uniqueness, beauty and diversity of Sarawak culture and heritage, as well as visit several places of interests.
The troupe will be led by Sarawak Arts Council chief executive officer Sharkawi Amit.
“Locals in India may not know there is a place called Kuching or Sarawak, so this is part of our efforts to promote Sarawak, as well as Malaysia,” he said.
Abdul Karim pointed out that (Malaysia) High Commission in other countries such as in the United Kingdom, Vatican City and Singapore have also indicated their interests to collaborate in similar programmes amid Sarawak’s aggressive efforts to go global in their tourism promotion.
“I think (such exchanges) is a win-win, as we try to promote Sarawak globally because we will need to incur a lot of expenses if we are to go on our own. We will be seeing more of this,” he said.
“This is the second time we sent a cultural troupe overseas. Last March, we sent a troupe to participate in the 2nd Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) International Dance Festival, also in New Delhi,” he added.
He reminded the troupe members to behave responsibly as they will act as ambassadors to Sarawak, while in India.
Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting and Permanent Secretary to the Ministry (Tourism, Arts and Culture) Hii Chang Kee were present. — DayakDaily