Media lauded for promoting Sarawak to 1.1 bln-strong global audience during pandemic

Abdul Karim (second right) presenting a gift to a reporter. Also seen are Hii (left) and Sharzede (right).

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 30: Despite the global Covid-19 pandemic, Sarawak has reached out, engaged and connected with an astounding audience of 1.1 billion throughout 2020 with digital content to tell Sarawak’s stories and promote its beauty to the world.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah thus expressed appreciation and thanks to the media for their continuous support and for writing and crafting amazing stories of Sarawak that had made this achievement possible.

“While lockdowns were sanctioned everywhere and our borders were closed down to visitors, the beauty and enchantment of Sarawak were still virtually enjoyed by many.

“It was made possible through the immense support from all of you, who have been tirelessly working with us to promote Sarawak and to entice prospective tourists.

“Storytelling is an art, and it is art done right by all of you throughout the years, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, where we needed it the most, that has been instrumental in restarting our local tourism industry, as we gradually weather challenges posed by the pandemic,” the minister highlighted during the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) Media Night at a hotel here last night.

Abdul Karim (seated centre) flanked by wife Zuraini on his right in a group photo with members of the media.

With global tourism struggling to absorb the shocks, Abdul Karim expressed gratitude that strong partnership with the media has enabled the state to bring more than a billion people virtually to Sarawak, and hopefully, somehow has enticed them to visit once it is safe to travel again.

“Thank you again for the effort in making our vision to increase the visibility and awareness of our beautiful Sarawak to the world, a reality,” he added.

Noting that the Covid-19 pandemic may not be fully over next year, he however expressed optimism to see increased travel activities with the opening of green zones and travel bubbles with the possibility of the opening of borders within the region.

“Early next year, we hope to announce our much anticipated inter-state campaign for Peninsular Malaysians to visit our beautiful Sarawak.

“As our border gradually starts to open, we hope to continue to reach out to many more prospective visitors to ensure Sarawak remains top-of-mind and hopefully entice them to visit once it is safe to travel again,” he added.

Abdul Karim also gave assurance that efforts will not slow down in adjusting and strategising in facing this uphill battle to revive and recover the state’s tourism economy which had been hardest hit by the pandemic.

“The ministry and STB and other players have had to make many adjustments in accordance to new norms and find ways and strategies to minimise impact and help our tourism industry recover and sustain.

“However, we acknowledge that with every challenge there is always an opportunity. During the down time, the team has been continuously strategising and re-strategising to prepare and ensure comprehensive tourism recovery plans, to improve and rebuild destinations, to encourage innovation, and rethink the tourism sector, as we prepare for 2021 and the post-pandemic era.

“Let’s work together to instil confidence and faith, and spark the joy and excitement to travel again,” he added.

Abdul Karim’s wife Datin Zuraini Abdul Jabbar, STB deputy chairman Hii Chang Kee, STB chief executive officer (CEO) Sharzede Salleh Askor and Federation of Sarawak Journalist Association president Jacqueline David Impi were among those present. — DayakDaily