Side-stepping Covid-19, ministry lists down 117 touristic events for 2021

Tourism Calendar 2021 ... but will the show go on?

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 9: Undaunted by Covid-19, Sarawak Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) has launched a comprehensive 2021 Calendar of Tourism Events, with a focus on domestic and eco-tourism in a bid to fully support industry rebound.

The calendar is packed with 117 events spread throughout 2021 that would enable visitors to immerse themselves in the local culture, nature, and adventure all at once.

Assistant Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting emphasised that the Calendar was created to encourage and attract both local residents and visitors to the state’s diverse line-up of cultural events, nature attractions, wilderness adventures, and international festivals.

“This year, we had 105 events and next year, we have planned for 117 events.

“Even though the tourism sector was hit hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry and our colleagues have been working hard and focused in preparing for 2021,” he told a press conference after chairing the third and last Sarawak Tourism Coordination Committee Meeting for this year at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here.

Motac permanent secretary Hii Chang Kii, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chief executive officer (CEO) Sharzede Salleh Askor, Motac Malaysia Sarawak director Suriya Charles Buas and Sarawak Arts Council CEO Sharkawi Amit were present.

Noting that keeping all those events on the calendar will be challenging due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, Ting however pointed out Motac will focus and be prepared to move forward in 2021.

“The focus will be on eco-tourism and community-based tourism aka domestic tourism.

“As such, we want to encourage our local people especially in the rural areas to venture into homestays,” he said of the initiatives which were in line with Motac’s promotion of local tourism.

Forecasting that international arrivals would remain very minimal in the first half of 2021, Ting added that STB and Motac will continue to push for local destinations, attractions and experiences.

“During the Covid-19 period, about 55 beautiful waterfalls have been discovered throughout Sarawak. They are all wonderful.

“STB chairman YB Dennis Ngau had visited some of the stunning waterfalls up in the Baram area. So this year, our Ministry, STB and Motac Malaysia will actively promote our own local tourism products and work to get through this difficult time,” he said.

Ting also urged local travel agencies and operators to promote the local tourism products and destinations to lure more visitors. -DayakDaily