Sarawak wants share of Chinese tourists

KUCHING: Chinese tourists have been labelled as the most frequent travellers visiting places outside mainland China.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah who described this as a Chinese phenomenon, said Sarawak would also like to have a share of the Chinese tourists.

“Everywhere in the world now, everyone tries to attract the Chinese tourists, somehow or rather, Chinese tourists have money to spend. For example, countries that I have visited like Turkey, Portugal, England, New Zealand, there are so many Chinese tourists.

“That is the scenario now that you see in the world, and we do not want to miss out.

“We have been having discussions with the travel agents in China and we can see that slowly things are picking up,” said Abdul Karim when speaking at a certificate presentation ceremony for Mandarin speaking guides at a local hotel here, yesterday.

A total of 41 guides who had successfully completed their training as Mandarin speaking guides received their certificates.

This was the first Mandarin speaking guide course for tourist guides for Bako National Park, Lambir Hills National Park and Semenggoh Nature Reserve.

Abdul Karim revealed that the Sarawak government was currently doing extensive renovation at the Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV)here and the Niah Cave in Miri.

“Sarawak Cultural Village is a little bit run down and there are many things to be fixed. As for the Niah cave, the Chief Minister told me that when we were all still in school, we have more knowledge about the Niah Cave … I think it very relevant for us to improve. Furthermore, it is nearby to Miri and easily accessible,” he said.

He added, with more flights coming in to Kuching in the next few months, like Royal Brunei Airlines, AirAsia direct flights, Sarawak can tap into the Chinese market easily.

“There are many Chinese tourists from mainland China, Singapore, Hong Kong, who want to come here. With RBA starting its 4 weekly flights BSB-KCH-BSB, we can also give out special packages to our tourists and likewise for AirAsia, there will be a few direct flights from Kuching which we can tap from.

“Next year will be Visit Sarawak Year 2019, we have many programmes in hand and we look forward to have more professional guides who can actually communicate in the dialects that the tourists know.

“Our park guides can speak English, Bahasa Melayu, Iban, but now you see, with Chinese tourists coming in, we have Mandarin speaking guides. Even though Sarawak has a huge shortage of guides, especially tour guides, but if you have wide knowledge, you cannot just be a park guide but also a tourist guide,” he said.

Among those present at the function were permanent secretary of the ministry Hii Chang Kee, CEO of Sarawak Forestry Corporation Zolkipli Mohammad Aton, UiTM Samarahan rector Prof Dato (Dr) Jamil Hambali, Forestry Department director Hamden Mohamad, chairman of Sarawak Tourist Guides Association Abang Zamhari Abang Zaidan and a representative from Sarawak Tourism Board Mary Wan Mering.

Source : The Borneo Post

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