Niah Caves to be upgraded to attract more visitors — CM

By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, Feb 2: Buggy transport and tracks for tourists and visitors are among some of the facilities and infrastructure upgrades the state government plans to implement at the iconic Niah Caves in Miri in conjunction with Visit Sarawak Year 2019.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has been entrusted to craft a master plan for this proposed initiative.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who revealed this, said the upgrades were meant for the convenience of tourists and visitors alike.

“The state government is upgrading all tourism infrastructure in Kuching and Miri as gateways. We are now in the midst of planning to upgrade Niah Cave while not spoiling the nature and heritage.

“(Getting to) the cave must be convenient to the tourists, so I’ve asked Abdul Karim to do a master plan, including providing a buggy transport and tracks for tourists and visitors to go up to the entrance of Niah Cave,” he told reporters after launching AirAsia’s Visit Sarawak Year 2019 aircraft livery at Kuching International Airport here today.

Aziz (blue shirt) presents a souvenir to Abang Johari. At right is Abdul Karim.

In that context, Abang Johari advised all tourism industry players to do their part and improve their facilities as well as their human resources to meet the expectations of their clients.

For instance, he said tour guides must be very well versed on the rich history and folklore of the destinations they are working on to make it very attractive for visitors.

“In terms of history, we got a lot behind us. The most recent is the discovery by archaeologists and scientists from New South Wales University, Australia, of early human civilisation in Niah Cave dating back to 50,000 years ago.

“This is something that is very new. As you know, if you read prehistory, human civilisation was recorded as early as 40,000 years ago. This (Niah Cave) discovery by archaeologists and scientists will make Sarawak a destination with historical value,” said Abang Johari.

Another tourist attraction that he cited as an example is Siniawan bazaar. He said the bazaar’s history dated back to the Brooke’s era.

“Must know how to tell the story. So the guides must be very well versed, well informed, knowledge must be correct and service providers and restaurants must keep up to the expectations of the tourists,” he emphasised. — DayakDaily