S’wak committed to revitalise tourism industry via responsible tourism and sustainable devt, says Abdul Karim 

The participants during the ICRTH2021 virtual conference.

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, May 29: The International Conference on Responsible Tourism and Hospitality (ICRTH) 2021 has closed its curtains yesterday with Sarawak declaring its commitment in revitalising the tourism industry through emphasis on responsible tourism and sustainable development.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said in order to achieve that goal, the ministry has declared the ‘Sarawak Commitment to Responsible Tourism’.

He noted that the 2002 Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism is still relevant today which aims to minimise negative economic, environmental and social impacts; generate greater economic benefits for the local people and enhances the well-being of host communities; improves working conditions and access to the industry.

“Therefore, we are not going to make another declaration. Instead, we would like to make a Sarawak Commitment to rebuild tourism responsibly through sustainable development.

“We will continue to work with tourism stakeholders to develop the tourism sector in accordance to realising the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said during the ICRTH2021 yesterday (May 28).

The two-day virtual conference featured 100 international speakers from 28 countries and attracted more than 3,000 delegates from 96 countries.

Apart from the opening and closing ceremonies, three keynote speeches, one expert dialogue, 13 professional forums and eight professional workshops were conducted, covering topics related to ecotourism, domestic tourism, heritage tourism, regenerative tourism, wellness and health tourism, smart tourism, experiential or immersive tourism, event tourism, sustainability in culinary and hospitality, safe travel, tour guide operation and travel technology.

The ICRTH2021 is a collaboration between the Ministry; Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management, UCSI University; Sarawak Research Society (SRS); and Emerald Publishing in East Asia. It is supported by 14 international institutions from Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

It is expected to be organised again next year.

Also present during the conference were the Ministry’s permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee and ICRTH2021 chairman and Sarawak Research Society, Associate Professor Dr Hiram Ting. — DayakDaily