By Wendy John
SIBU, Dec 16: Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) will be a useful and timely resource as the state government aims to use the 3rd Tourism Masterplan (2020-2035) to position Sarawak as a preferred tourist destination, says Assistant minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Datuk Sebastian Ting at the second Sarawak Tourism Committee meeting for 2019 today.
Sarawak is the first state in the country to utilise TDA, an internationally recognised method for measuring tourism’s contribution to a country.
The ministry together with Department of Statistics Malaysia launched the TSA on December 10, 2019.
Sarawak will continue to work with Department of Statistics Malaysia to ensure the TSA is regularly updated so it can be utilised for strategic planning and formulation to boost the state’s tourism and businesses, thus benefitting the state government and tourism industry players.
Ting said in view of the Visit Sarawak Campaign (VSC) and Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2020, Sarawak will host 2020 Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) destination marketing forum in Kuching from November 25 to 27, 2020 to further highlight and showcase Sarawak’s rich ethnic and cultural heritage to global tourism stakeholders.
“In order to boost Singaporeans arrivals in Sarawak, my ministry through STB (Sarawak Tourism Board) collaboration with Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office Singapore (Statos) launched weekend packages and the Sarawak Food Trail on December 3,” he said.
He also highlighted that from January to November 2019, Singaporean arrivals in Sarawak were recorded at 41,168, an increase of 3.52 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2018.
For 2020, the state government is planning to set up a Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office in Brunei and Pontianak as well to further tap trade and tourism potential.
“My Ministry has continued to collaborate with government agencies, tourism industry players and local communities to line up many significant tourism events in 2020,” he added.
Meanwhile, the state’s Calendar of Events 2020 features a total of 95 events by 12 divisions — Kuching (31), Samarahan (3), Serian (4), Sri Aman (4), Betong (1), Sarikei (3), Sibu (9), Mukah (12), Bintulu (9), Kapit (3), Miri (9) and Limbang (7).
Significant events and festivals next year include Rainforest World Music Festival, Borneo Jazz Festival, Tidal Bore Festival, Pesta Babulang, Pesta Kaul, Sarawak International Dragon Boat Race, Borneo International Kite Festival, Borneo Cultural Festival and the Sarawak Regatta.
Ting also highlighted some of the recent prestigious events and activities organized by his ministry.
“Sarawak is proud to be given the opportunity to host the 2nd BUDAYAW Festival, where cultural masters and artists from the BIMP-EAGA region with a total number of 412 participants gathered in Kuching for the five days of culture and arts from November 19 to 23,” he said.
He also noted that the festival showcased the diversity of creative expressions of cultural masters and artists from the BIMP-EAGA region, aside from raising public awareness and fostering understanding and solidarity among the multi-cultural populations in the BIMP-EAGA region.
Other memorable events include the 8th Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards (SHTA) held on December 7 themed “On Fire For Sarawak” to reflect the significance of having a strong, burning passion for the Sarawak tourism industry.
Ting congratulated all the winners of the 8th Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards for their outstanding contributions to the state tourism industry.
Meanwhile, the ministry’s permanent secretary, Hii Chang Kee said tourism directly contributed RM11 billion to the state’s GDP, accounting for 7.5 per cent of Sarawak’s GDP in 2018. — DayakDaily