Fresh ideas, investment needed to boost Miri’s tourism strengths

An aerial view of Miri city.

Commentary

Miri is no stranger to the travel industry, being well known amongst domestic and foreign tourists for its interesting and fun tourists spots.

Travellers and backpackers have been drawn to its many famous landmarks for many years — the UNESCO World Heritage site Gunung Mulu National Park, Lambir National Park, the fantastic Niah Caves, the Grand Old Lady and many more.

This year (2018) is ‘Visit Miri Year’. With more than 30 events proposed for the promotion, it is hoped they will help to boost the number of tourist arrivals in the Resort City.

These proposed events include mural art unveilings, a pet expo, the International Conference on Sustainable Building Asia (SBE), the opening ceremony for Miri Handicraft Centre, Malaysia Dragon Temple Krokop 5’s 40th anniversary celebration, the Miss Grand Miri pageant, Sarawak Native Festival, South East Asia Poet Convention and reunion events for Curtin University, Shell and Petronas.

While it is a good thing that at least we know that tourism marketing efforts are ongoing, but sadly, it is not enough. There should be more talk about and efforts in conserving and beautifying existing tourist attractions and hotspots such as Lambir National Park, Gunung Mulu National Park, the Niah Caves or even the beautiful beaches along Miri’s coast line.

Are these spots being well maintained by relevant authorities in order to attract and retain more tourists, apart from proposing or organising the events mentioned earlier?

Recently, netizens have highlighted and commented on social media about a number of tourist attractions in Miri, claiming they are not well maintained and no proper signage had been installed.

This raises the question of whether Miri is prepared for ‘Visit Miri 2018’.

Miri must also be able to offer something for everyone. As times change, we need something fresh and different to pull in tourists, besides the conventional ways of attracting these visitors.

On a personal level, I feel Miri should do more to stand out when comes to nightlife. Let’s get rid of the perception that the city gets dull as soon as the sun sets.

A view of Miri city overlooking its scenic coastline.

We are certainly proud to have world-renowned natural attractions such as Gunung Mulu National Park, Lambir National Park, Loagan Bunut, and Niah Caves, and they have proven to be successful in attracting tourists to the city. But we can do so much more.

Take for example, beaches. With the ample number of beautiful beaches available here within easy reach, the city can make good use of them to rope in more tourists.

With Pantai Bungai, Luak Esplanade, Tanjong Lobang, and Tusan Beach, we can organise water sports activities or set up tube hotels along these beautiful locations, similar to Langkawi.

In terms of this effort (i.e. the setting up of affordable tube hotels along its beaches), Langkawi surely is one step ahead of us.

Miri, like Langkawi or Batu Ferringhi, is blessed with beautiful beaches that stretch out as far as the eye can see.

It’s about time for us to transform our major leisure tourism attractions, beyond organising the same, cliché events every year. People want to see something different!

We need fresh and different approaches or ideas to promote Miri as a tourism destination. We can start by making use of our fantastic beaches to boost our tourism activities.

Thumb-ups must be given to a private company which was bold enough to turn Marina Park into an awesome recreation spot for local residents and tourists. It’s a good step as an initial effort. Their investment has, for sure, paid off. People are flocking to the area to enjoy the scenic views overlooking its fantastic beach.

Perhaps the local authorities could engage more with private companies in making similiar efforts to transform Miri into a vibrant city. — DayakDaily