By Peter Sibon
SINGAPORE, June 21: The setting up of Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office in Singapore (Statos) will definitely boost Sarawak’s tourism sector as Singapore is an established regional trading, commercial and tourism hub, said Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
“The idea of setting up Statos is a brilliant idea. Singapore is the financial and trading hub in South East Asia and the setting up of Statos will make networking of Sarawak business communities, entrepreneurs, travel and tour agents and others with the world much easier,” Abdul Karim told DayakDaily after the launching of the office by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg yesterday.
He added that the tourism industry was expected to grow with the setting up of Statos via marketing of Sarawak to Singaporeans and others.
“So, the next move is for us to have more direct/chartered flights via Singapore when the volume of visitors pick up,” he said.
Statos’ primarily function is as a one-stop centre to enhance Sarawak’s position as Singapore’s traditional trading partner.
Abang Johari said among the objectives of setting up Statos were to facilitate Sarawak’s tourism through (a) the creation of a complete database on Sarawak tourism products and activities, (b) to undertake analysis on tourism trends and tourist preference and expenditure pattern in Singapore and globally, and (c) to develop marketing strategies to attract more tourists to Sarawak through the formulation of innovative product packages, attractive incentives, facilitate engagement with travel agents, tour operators, airlines, hotels, restaurant and tour guides.
“In fact, this is also in line with our plan to complete the supply chain of the state agriculture sector,” the chief minister had explained.
He stressed that the initiative taken by the state government was to strengthen the supply chain to increase agriculture production through modern and commercial agriculture; setting up more collection, processing and packaging centre (CPPC); strengthening agriculture research and development; providing venture capital for agropreneurs and also building airports and purchasing cargo plane to bring the state’s agriculture produce to Singapore.
Statos will also be responsible for aggressive and targeted promotional and marketing activities for Sarawak products to complement federal promotional agencies such as Mida, Matrade and Tourism Malaysia to further strengthen bilateral cooperation, trade and tourism between Sarawak and Singapore.
Last year, the volume of trade between Sarawak and Singapore was RM2.9 billion and visitor arrivals from Singapore to Sarawak totalled 43,734.
He also revealed that Sarawak would set up similar facilities in both Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei) and Pontianak (Indonesia) soon.
Meanwhile, the chief minister had a meeting with Singapore’s Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan this morning.
The duo held an hour-long discussion over breakfast on topics of mutual interest for both Singapore and Sarawak, especially on trade and tourism.
Among members of the delegation were High Commissioner of Malaysia to Singapore Dato Zainol Rahim Zainuddin, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Abdul Karim, Acting State Secretary Datu Jaul Samion and Deputy State Secretaries Datu Dr Sabariah Putit and Datu Abu Bakar Marzuki.
The members of his entourage were in Singapore in conjunction with the opening of Statos yesterday. — DayakDaily