Friday, March 30, 2007

Regatta Events to Draw More Tourists to Sarawak

A new tourism package that will focus on promoting various regatta events in Sarawak will be launched soon to lure more domestic and foreign tourists to the Land of Hornbills in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2007 (VMY’07).

Without revealing the details, Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) president Wee Hong Seng said the launch of the new package would hopefully attract certain segments of tourists to come to Sarawak.

“We have various tourism products and the only thing to do now is for all the main players in the tourism industry to be creative in promoting the products available with the close cooperation of the Sarawak goverment,” he said.

As such, Wee said that recently Sarawak launched its Experimental Education, Music, Adventure and Culture (EMAC) package in Singapore to woo more visitors from that island and next it would be the reggata events for different kinds of market segments.

Asked on hitches faced by those directly involved in the tourism industry during the current VMY’07 campaign, he said that STF had taken the initiative to iron out problems related to air connectivity in Sarawak, particularly as regards to the rural air service.

He said that the STF wanted the problem to be resolved as soon as possible to ensure Sarawak hit its target of 3.5 million foreign tourist arrivals for VMY’07.

Previously, Sarawak Urban Development and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh was quoted as saying that the rural air service for the Miri-Mulu routes needed to be improved further to better promote the area that has been certified as a World Heritage site.

Clearly voicing his unhappiness over the services that are being handled by Fly Asian Xpress (FAX), Wong said that Mulu, touted as the crown jewel of the Sarawak tourism industry, now suffered greatly due to the poor service.

Meanwhile, the Taxi Owners Association of Sarawak (TOAS) has claimed that the VMY’07 has not benefited taxi drivers much.

Its president Chris Yeo claimed that foreign tourists, especially those who came in large groups, preferred to travel around in buses chartered by local travel agencies.

To make matters worse, he said that tour guides even picked up and sent tourists to the airports in the various cities in the state using their own cars.

He said that visitors coming to Sarawak need not worry about the services offered by taxi operators in the state.

“We have 24 hours radio call service, metered taxis and even introduced our own uniforms for the drivers. They have also been given a code of ethics to follow,” he added.

Source : STAR
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