Sarawak targets prime tourists by hosting specific events, says Abang Johari

Abang Johari receives a souvenir from Toh (centre) at the MAH Dinner reception. Photo: Sarawak Information Department

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By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Aug 16: Sarawak is focusing on specialised tourism where it targets prime or selected tourists by hosting specific events like the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF), says Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He believed that selected tourists are a better option than mass tourists as the latter would generally refuse to pay a high price and go for low-budget options.

“But the prime tourists, they do not care. Even if you charge them RM500, they will pay RM500 because you have the prime product.

“If you go for mass tourists, you will have problems such as (establishing) prices in the hotel,” he told hotel industry players at the Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH) Dinner held at Hilton Hotel here last night (Aug 15).

Abang Johari also recalled that when he was Tourism Minister, a hotel manager operating a resort in a neighbouring State shared with him incidents involving mass tourists where some of them would cut out the carpet under the bed and bring them home, and sometimes even TVs.

“So I think for us (hotel industry players), you must try to differentiate between mass tourists and selected tourists.

“For Sarawak, we go for prime tourists or selected tourists. That is why we organise business events, and we organise all these events like RWMF because this is (meant) for special tourists, not mass tourists,” he added.

Amongst those present were Sarawak Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts (MTCP) Minister Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah; Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chairman Dennis Ngau; MTCP permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee; STB chief executive officer Sharzede Datu Salleh Askor; MAH president Christina Toh; Business Events Sarawak (BES) chief executive officer Amelia Roziman; and MAH Sarawak Chapter chairman John Teo. — DayakDaily