Sarawak needs to find ways to help fill shortage of 30,000 tourism workers in country

Ting (third left) launching the event, witnessed by Hii (second left), Mona (third right) and others.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Sept 20: Sarawak needs to strategise and find ways to help fill the shortage of 30,000 workers in the country’s tourism industry.

Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah thus hopes that tourism conferences such as the TTLx Summit will help to rebuild the industry by way of attracting more tourism players, especially the younger generation of entrepreneurs and also fresh graduates seeking to enter the tourism and hospitality industry.

“There is a need to address this vital issue raised by Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Dato Sri Nancy Shukri.

“I am sure our international speakers here can agree that this tourism manpower shortage is also happening in many countries around the world. It is very much a global issue,” he said in his keynote speech read by Deputy Minister of Tourism Datuk Sebastian at the opening of TTLx Summit at Chemsains here today.

Conference organiser Place Borneo Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Mona Manap also agreed that there was a need for Sarawak to strategise and find ways to attract not only tourists, but more tourism players as well as find exciting ways to develop Sarawak’s tourism products and ensure sustainability.

“Conference topics such as Future of Work, Sustainable Tourism Development, Tour Guiding in the New Normal are relevant as recent data shows we have a huge shortage of tourism workers,” she added.

Apart from the strategies to re-energise the tourism industry under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) for 2021-2025, Abdul Karim emphasised that Sarawak’s Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030 also aspire to make Sarawak into a leading destination for eco-tourism and business events in the Asean region.

“It will be driven by empowered communities to conserve heritage, culture and biodiversity as well as to promote investment and development through responsible actions.

“From this, four main tourism strategies have been identified, namely to enhance travel to and within Sarawak; to develop Sarawak tourism products and assets by building upon its culture, heritage and natural assets; to position Sarawak as a preferred tourism destination and to improve capacity as well as capability of human capital,” he added.

TTLx Summit is a tourism-centered conference that emerged from a small bi-weekly online webinar called TuesdayTalk LIVE created at the start of the pandemic by Place Borneo to keep tourism players engaged in discussion and sharing ideas on how to work together for the betterment of the industry during and post Covid-19.

The two-day conference until tomorrow (Sept 21) features international speakers sharing talks on ‘How the Koreans Tourism Industry are Reinventing Themselves’, ‘Getting Ready for Singapore Tourists’, ‘Cultural Heritage Tourism: Redefining the True Meaning of Travel’ and more.

Ministry’s permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee, Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia Raden Sigit Witjaksono, Place Borneo Sdn Bhd director Gracie Geikie, Business Events Sarawak general manager (Business Development and Marketing) Jason Tan and Centre for Asia Leadership co-founder and president Samuel Hungsoo Kim were among those present. — DayakDaily