By Karen Bong
KUCHING, March 31: Sarawak has a lot to see and do but some of these unique and interesting tourism products or destinations slip under the radar due to a lack of exposure.
As such, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) is trying to put them in the spotlight through its Sarawak Product Experience (SPE) initiative, to heighten the profile of these products or attractions with marketing support along with other industry stakeholders such as travel and tour agents, tourist guides, as well as the media and social media influencers.
From cities, towns to villages offering different kinds of tourism experiences, STB chairman Dennis Ngau emphasised that the whole of Sarawak is a tourism product.
“You name it, we have it all – culture, adventure, nature, food and festival (CANFF) which is our (STB’s) tagline.
“We are confident that Sarawak, which has so much to offer to eager travellers, will be a preferred destination,” he said when addressing the STB SPE initiative which took a group of participants on a three-day two-night camping trip in the clouds at Kiyau, in Kampung Sapit on Friday (March 29).
For Dennis, the natural environment in Kampung Sapit, which now offers seven stunning campsites including Kiyau, is a great attraction by itself, especially for urban travellers seeking relaxation and solitude in tranquility.
“But there is a need for more aggressive promotion to put them in the spotlight.
“In general, the basic facility in Kiyau campsite is good enough but perhaps we can share with them ideas on how to make this place even more attractive or beautiful to meet the different expectations of travellers.
“Travellers come from various categories, with those who are more laid back. Perhaps the operator can upgrade to flush toilets. Something like that (to provide comfort to travellers),” he said, noting that many tourists including locals as well as foreigners from Singapore, European countries and the United States have visited Kiyau.
Kiyau, which offers culture, adventure, nature and food, Dennis added, is one of the products that Sarawak can expose and showcase to the world, more so when the location is not too far from the city with road accessibility.
“Even though the road conditions may not be the best, that is part of the fun,” he added.
With Kiyau privately set up, owned and operated by locals, Dennis hopes others can follow suit as many places in the rural areas have the potential to be developed into tourism products using this concept.
“But in different ways so that we have a wider variety of products to offer.
“I’m actually very happy with the involvement of local people in developing this place into a tourist attraction on their own so visitors have the opportunity to experience the local culture and lifestyle. This is what we want actually.
“We cannot just wait for the government to come and develop this, otherwise it may not match their (local) aspirations,” he pointed out.
On the STB SPE initiative, Dennis said it had been initiated for years in many areas and STB will continue to expand this engagement to more areas along with industry players to heighten the profile of Sarawak’s attractions.
“Those who have interesting tourism products or attractions can inform STB, and we will arrange a similar programme to support the tourism industry players in Sarawak.
“We will work to enhance the relationship and collaboration between tourism authorities and the industry players. This is very important because we cannot work in silos, else it will be difficult to boost the tourism sector in Sarawak,” he added. — DayakDaily