Sarawak to be promoted as unique tourist spot

Movement restrictions should be considered an opportunity to be used by all players to enhance their products and services

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / Pic by BERNAMA

SARAWAK will be promoted as one of the country’s best-kept secrets and underexplored segments when travel restrictions are lifted to offer a unique experience for both new and familiar arrivals.

Tourism Productivity Nexus (TPN) champion Uzaidi Udanis said the current lack of business due to movement restrictions should be considered as an opportunity to be used by all players to enhance their products and services.

“Sarawak is the best-kept secret for us, and we want to promote it aggressively as it is unique and diverse.

“Right now, the unexplored segment for tourism in our country are traditional and rural environments offered by homestays, kampungstays and such,” he said during the Malaysia Tourism Excellence (Matex) business certification programme category for homestay, kampung-stay owners and operators for Sarawak.

He said any homestay owners and operators should continue to use this time to improve their services and keeping them available for the near future of reopening. “The more players we have, the easier it will be to recover the economy, but if players give up, the industry will take longer to recover,” he said.

The Matex certification that was held virtually yesterday was presented to 15 homestay operators in Sarawak, spanning from Santubong, Kuching and Bario Highlands, Miri.

Located in the remote areas of East Malaysia, the homestays will provide the holistic experience of travelling in Sarawak without the convenience of highways or accessible routes.

Malaysia Productivity Corp (MPC) DG Datuk Abdul Latif Abu Seman said to ensure smooth travel for any tourists coming to the state, there will be a meeting for all players to come together to address accessibility challenges.

“We will look at the value chain, getting the right guides and communication, so we will work through the proper network.

“We have to make arrangements in terms of transport and accommodation, and what is it in the destination that we can fill up the tourists’ time with,” he said.

He added that the state is challenging in nature, and things will need to be organised and concise so as to not place difficulties on the tourists.

“But the journey is in meeting the rural folks, stopping by their markets, and there are things that you can see there that you cannot find elsewhere.

“I am sure we can look into the value chain to support certain areas,” he said.

Two certifications were provided to each recipient, namely the Certificate of Excellence of Matex and Certificate of Compliance for Covid-19 prevention measures from the MPC and TPC.

Abdul Latif said the certification is another milestone to increase the quality level and bar for the country’s services and products to remain competitive.

“We are all facing a severe challenge which is not just working against the tourism sector, but a global phenomenon.

“But the fact is that it is also the time to sit back and do some self-reflection and what are the things we can do to improve, revisit our advantages and the things we are promoting,” he said.

He added that all this is done to ensure that when the Movement Control Order ends and Covid-19 recedes, players should be ready with top-notch products to welcome tourists coming over to their premises and services.

“We can do more by putting our resources together regardless of circumstances and challenges we are faced with.

“Eventually, there is going to be light at the end of the tunnel from this ramping up of vaccination drives and we should be able to mitigate the infections from the regulations and movement restrictions,” he said.

He added that should there be challenges faced by players when it comes to the regulations, they can provide feedback on the MPC portal.

“Regulatory challenges that they can bring up here include policies, rules, regulations, standards, process and procedures that should not be burdensome to industry players.

“I would like to seek support from tourism players by using the portal, and we will assess if there are any proposals or reviews that can be done,” he said.