Sarawak tourism takes next step in digitalisation with Sarawak Travel App, web portal

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Feb 19: Tourism industry players including food and beverage, excursions and adventure have been urged to make use of technology to promote their products in order to capture more tourists to Sarawak.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised technology was the way of tomorrow and businesses including the tourism sector needed to take advantage of the situation to reach out to the wider market.

“There are a lot of platforms to engage buyers and sellers such as TripAdvisor (the world’s largest travel platform).

“What is very important is that you must have very good content in your websites, and that will attract outside people to come over to Sarawak,” he said at the launching of Sarawak Travel App and Portal at a hotel here today.

He also urged local players in the tourism sector to train themselves in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications so that the technology could be applied to tourism products like the Sarawak Travel App.

Abang Johari browsing through the Sarawak Travel App on a big screen. Also seen is Abdul Karim (in blue suit).

“This way you can create interactive content, provide viewers with the initial virtual experience and create a good impression of Sarawak. With that, we hope to pique their curiosity and lure visitors to come to Sarawak,” he said.

Abang Johari also stressed that Sarawak’s tourism industry will not be hit badly by the Covid-19 outbreak as the state captured a diverse market, including Europe.

“Our market is not confined to China only. I am sure the tourists and visitors will come to Sarawak because of our friendly environment as well as nature,” he added.

On the Sarawak Travel App, he said attractive contents as well as other services were crucial to enable tourists to see all the interesting products and places of interest but also book a trip directly.

“Tourists have the opportunity to have a virtual experience of the destination then if they are interested to visit Sarawak, they can then book their trip through the app or web portal and place a deposit,” he highlighted.

Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said that the Sarawak Travel App and Web Portal was a strategic partnership and collaborative effort by his ministry, Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA), and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) which aims to digitalise major components of Sarawak tourism industry.

Abang Johari (centre) flanked by Abdul Karim on his right and Datuk Jaul Samion on his left place their palms on devices to activate the virtual reality video of Sarawak More to Discover Campaign which is featured in the Sarawak Travel App and Web Portal.

“The digitalisation of the tourism industry aspires to allow seamless travel experience for both domestic and international tourists to Sarawak,” he added.

Through the developed travel app, he emphasised that tourists will be able to experience street view of attractions such as the Sarawak Cultural Village, Fort Margherita, and Old Court House; view 360-degree panoramic images of local attractions such as the Kuching Waterfront, Mulu National Park; locate and savour Sarawak dishes; try virtual tour and presence in a traditional longhouse; plan and arrange tours; and arrange and view transportation facilitation information.

Sarawak, he reiterated, was aiming to receive five million visitors with Rm12.4 billion tourism receipts even though the Covid-19 outbreak had caused some concerns, especially for the Visit Malaysia 2020 initiative and also Sarawak More to Discover Campaign.

“However, we reviewed our marketing strategies which include an increase of promotional and marketing initiatives for domestic and inbound tourism to encourage more domestic tourists to choose Sarawak as a preferred holiday destination.

“Other proposed measures include increasing marketing efforts to correct any mistaken impression that Malaysia is not safe and encouraging cross border tourism.

“Therefore, all stakeholders have to work together with a creative mind and also a positive approach for the development of Sarawak tourism towards this global issue,” he added. —DayakDaily