Minister Urges Sarawakians To Discover Tourism Attractions In Their Own Backyard

Minister Urges Sarawakians To Discover Tourism Attractions In Their Own Backyard

KUCHING – Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Dato Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, together with an entourage from the Ministry, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) visited Bako National Park and Pulau Lakei on 2nd October 2021 as Sarawak entered the second day where tourism attractions in the state are allowed to resume operations.

The working visit started with a tree-planting session led by YB Dato Seri Karim at the new Bako Terminal, accompanied by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Permanent Secretary Mr. Hii Chang Kee, STB CEO Sharzede Datu Salleh Askor and SFC CEO Zolfkipli Mohamad Aton.

After a 20-minute boat trip from the terminal to Bako National Park, the visitors went on a walkabout at the park’s circular Ulu Assam trail and were briefed on the geological rock formations and vegetation that is found within the park’s vicinity.

The visit continued with another 20-minute boat-trip to Pulau Lakei where the group ascended a wooden staircase to visit mausoleum of Datuk Haji Ibrahim, a well-respected man who resided on the island more than three centuries ago. Next stop was the small natural pool, Salamun Pond, where it is believed Ibrahim engraved writings resembling Arabic calligraphy on the sandstone with his bare fingers, before reaching the Pa-Amit Cape viewing point where one can get some absolutely stunning views of the Bako-Buntal Bay area.

YB Karim said the working visit by the Ministry and the relevant tourism agencies was to make sure that the facilities and services at Sarawak tourist attractions are well-maintained and ready to receive visitors after ceasing operation due to the pandemic.

“As tourism operation resumes, this is a good opportunity for Sarawakians to discover and enjoy the wonderful tourism attractions in their own backyard to revive from lockdown fatigue”, he said.

“As majority of boat operators here in Bako are from its’ local community, the increasing number of visitors to the park will help elevate their livelihood that may have been affected due to the pandemic,” he added.

YB Karim also urged Sarawak tour operators to work hand-in-hand with the Ministry and its tourism agencies to promote all the amazing tourism products that Sarawak has to offer to domestically, and also to the international market to create a travelling demand to the state once the borders are open.


YB Dato Seri Karim (front) with SFC CEO Encik Zolkipli upon arrival at Bako National Park. Also seen in the picture is STB CEO Puan Sharzede Datu Salleh Askor (orange jacket).


Dr. Ramli from SFC giving a briefing on the vegetation and plants that are found at the park.


The view that welcomes visitors once they set foot on the shores of Bako National Park.


A group photo to end the trip with YB Karim, Mr. Hii Chang Kee, En. Zolkipli and Puan Sharzede.

STB wins WTM World Responsible Tourism Award

STB wins WTM World Responsible Tourism Award



KUCHING – The Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) and Borneo Jazz Festival (BJF) virtual experiences organised by Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), was recently named as the ‘One to Watch’ by WTM Responsible Tourism Awards 2021.

Open to four regions (Africa, India, Latin America and the Rest of the World), the awards recognise excellence in responsible tourism, and selected RWMF and BJF in the Destinations Building Back Better Post-Covid category.

These first-of-their-kind events in the region were streamed live on multiple online platforms and on TV channels, providing a platform for local performers to showcase their culture and heritage.

STB also partnered with Shopee and GrabFood to provide retailers an opportunity to market and sell authentic Sarawakian food and tourism products such as handicrafts and souvenirs, to local audiences. Viewers were able to watch the performances, interviews and flashbacks and engage in conversation with other online users throughout the 90-minute event as well as watch workshops from previous years from the virtual Bidayuh, Iban, Chinese and Malay houses at the Sarawak Cultural Village.

Upon the completion of the shows, a total of 402,865 people from 79 countries had tuned in for the RWMF and 244,637 from 43 different countries had tuned in for BJF. Leveraging on this global audience to promote responsible tourism, STB launched two responsible tourism videos during the virtual experience to educate viewers on the importance of responsible and sustainable tourism.

For more information on the festivals, visit rwmf.net and jazzborneo.com

Virtual PATA Destination Marketing Forum 2021



As DMOs across the globe continue to rebrand from destination marketing organisations to embrace the importance of being destination management organisations, the Virtual PATA Destination Marketing Forum 2021 celebrates this trend with the theme of ‘Experiences that Inspire.’

Join Virtual PATA Destination Marketing Forum for insights on key issues in marketing and managing tourism growth.

Nov 24, 1 PM – Nov 26, 3:30 PM (GMT+8 Malaysia)
(Nov 24, 10:30 AM – Nov 26, 1 PM (GMT+5.5 India) | Nov 24, 12 PM – Nov 26, 2:30 PM (GMT+7 Thailand) | Nov 24, 3 PM – Nov 26, 5:30 PM (GMT+10 Sydney))



Tickets are offered on a first-come-first-served basis – secure yours right away!


Message from Sarawak Tourism Board:

Mass tourism is giving way to travel’s new normal, where travellers coming out of the pandemic will be looking to make meaningful engagements and emotional connections at their destination of choice. Sarawak Tourism Board warmly welcomes tourism industry stakeholders to explore this rising trend together in the upcoming Virtual PATA Destination Marketing Forum 2021, themed ‘Experiences that Inspire.’

Supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Sarawak and the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), Sarawak, Malaysia is proud to host this two-day event, which will be building upon the global movement towards purposeful travel.

As a destination that is thriving with Culture, Adventure, Nature, Food and Festivals (CANFF), Sarawak’s tourism industry is committed to responsible tourism, to safeguard its wealth of tangible and intangible heritage while making Sarawak a better place to live and a better place to visit for generations to come.


Programme Highlights:



Moving Beyond Destination Marketing to Destination Management

Before the pandemic, we saw tourism boards making a move away from just destination marketing and expanding their role to destination management. Post-pandemic, will that continue? Why is it important? What does that mean? Who is doing it best? And what are the implications for stakeholders? Find the answers through the conference!



Shinta Mani Wild: How One Hotel Changed a Destination

An interview with Bill Bensley, a landscape architect, architect, and interior designer who has designed over 200 hospitality projects in 50 countries including the Shinta Mani, a tented camp in remote Cambodia that helped elevated the game for Cambodia and helped to create a luxury circuit in a traditionally backpacker market. Join the event to learn how other destinations can replicate Shinta Mani Wild’s success!



Sarawak Virtual Tours

Enjoy the beauty of Sarawak, Malaysia through a number of virtual tours streamed live from the peaceful island with diverse experiences to offer! Adventure along the Semadang River, discover the Melanau culture in the ancient village, and try out the local desserts! Join the virtual tours to satisfy your desire for travel and win some exciting prizes!

Take a sneak peak >



Case Studies on Asia Pacific Destinations

Witnessing the recovery of Maldives, and the opening of Thailand and its pilot programme- the Phuket Sandbox, what are the learnings we can gain from these destinations? With responsible travel’s rising importance for consumers in the post-COVID era, what is the current situation of sustainability in the Asia Pacific region? Join these case study sessions to hear from expert panelists!

and more…

See the full programme >


Thanks to the generous support of our partners and sponsors, visitor registration is open to PATA International Members, Chapter Members, and Non-Members.

Tickets are offered on a first-come-first-served basis – secure yours right away!



For inquiries, please email [email protected]

Post-event recordings will be available exclusively to PATA International Members.
Please note that certificates will not be provided to delegates of this event.

STB Launches Photography and Videography Competition

STB Launches Photography and Videography Competition


Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) has launched its very first photography and videography competition, to celebrate the power of art and creativity, in showcasing the beauty and uniqueness of Sarawak.

Themed, ‘Sarawak, a Journey Awaits’, the competition is open to all Malaysians nationwide beginning today until 30 November 2021. All materials submitted must be recent, no more than three years old. All entries must capture Sarawak’s culture, adventure, nature, food and festival (CANFF) and accompanied with a short description or caption.

Puan Sharzede Salleh Askor, Chief Executive Officer of Sarawak Tourism Board said, “Artistic platforms such as photography and videography remind us how connected we all are on this planet, and allows us to engage with Malaysians from all walks of life, in a creative manner.”

“For the past year, much of our time has been apart. In this time, Sarawak has continued to thrive and remains one of the most unique destinations in Malaysia. We encourage Malaysians to take this opportunity to share their personal perspectives of Sarawak, especially in highlighting the vibrancy and authenticity of the state.”

“We look forward to discovering Malaysians’ take on Sarawak’s culture, adventure, nature, food and festivals, and urge them to grab their cameras and showcase the state in all its multifaceted splendour!”

The judging mechanism will be decided by a panel of handpicked judges. Each participant can submit up to five photographs in each of the categories and one video for the competition. All materials are authorised under the copyright of Sarawak Tourism Board with credit given to the photographer/videographer where applicable.

Winners of the photography and videography competition will be announced on Sarawak Tourist Board and Sarawak Photo Art Society’s Facebook and website https://stb.foto.org.my/ or www.spas.com.my/. A prize-giving ceremony will be organised in due course.

Photograph/Video Requirements

  • Submitted photographs should be in jpg format 8”x12” x 300dpi and without watermarks.
  • The video entries should have a maximum duration of three
  • All submissions must be compliance to the Rules and Regulations of the competition. Entry that minutes in mp4 format of 4K resolution 16:9 format using drone or other videography equipment such as handphones.
  • All submissions can be uploaded to https://stb.foto.org.my/
  • Does not follow the terms and conditions will be disqualified.
Prizes
Photography Videography
Grand prize winner – RM5,000
Prizes for each category

First prize – RM3,000
Second prize – RM2,000
Third prize – RM1,000
10 Consolation prize – RM100
1 x special student award – RM2,000
First prize – RM10,000
Second prize – RM8,000
Third prize – RM6,000
Special student award – RM2,000
For more information on the contest, visit https://stb.foto.org.my/


Sarawak Tourism Players Attend WTM London 2021

Sarawak Tourism Players Attend WTM London 2021



KUCHING – Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) along with 10 local travel and tour operators will be participating in WTM Virtual London, the annual global travel market via a virtual Sarawak stand housed in Waterfront Hotel from 8th-9th November 2021.

The participation which echoes STB’s continuous effort to increase Sarawak’s visibility presents an opportunity for local industry players to network with trade buyers and media across the globe. STB also took part via a physical booth in WTM London from 1st – 3rd November 2021 in ExCel London.

The 10 local travel and tour operators involved are Authentic Borneo Tours, Borneo Adventure, Brighton Travel & Tours, Cat City Holidays, CPH Travel Agencies, Greatown Travel, Ecogreen Holidays, Happy Trails Borneo Tours, Minda Nusantara Tours & Travel Agencies, and Paradesa Borneo.

STB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sharzede Datu Haji Salleh Askor said that since the onset of the pandemic, STB and its tourism partners have tapped further into promoting domestic tourism. With the world’s travel restriction gradually easing up, Sarawak is looking forward to welcome back international travellers.

“The return of international travellers is crucial for our tourism industry’s recovery. Our participation in WTM London will be another step forward to come together with our international tourism partners to see how we can put our heads together to anticipate the needs and wants of a new brand of post-pandemic tourists,” Sharzede said.

With increased focus on responsible tourism especially after the pandemic, Sarawak is also ready to empower its visitors with their niche tourism products to make a positive contribution during their visit such as orangutan conservation works, cycling, birding and many more.

During the event, STB also released their latest destination creatives with the theme “A Journey Awaits”, featuring Sarawak’s geographical and cultural wonders packed with its culture, adventure, nature, food and festivals.

Through the message of healing in the video, Sarawak invites travellers to recover from pandemic fatigue in the state’s wealth of naturally endowed gifts – Culture, Adventure, Nature, Food and Festivals (CANFF) – amidst the comfort of Sarawak’s hospitality. The video can also be viewed at STB’s official Youtube channel.

For more information about Sarawak, log on to Sarawak Tourism Board’s website: https://sarawaktourism.com.

TENUN Fashion Week 2021 Honours Asean Weaving Communities

KUCHING – Weavers are artisans who produce a visual feast of boisterous colours and fantastical shapes, creating fabrics put together by rhythmic movements of their hands and feet on their weaving looms.

TENUN Fashion Week 2021 is dedicated completely to the handweaves of ASEAN, reimagines their continued relevance by exploring their use in today’s fashion whilst experiencing the artistry of the makers of these garments and celebrate their ways of life and means of livelihood.

This inaugural event, that was screened online on 15 to 17 October 2021, celebrates the handwoven textiles and weaving communities in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.

Tenun Fashion Week 2021 was jointly organised by the Asean Handicraft Promotion and Development Association (AHPADA) and Tanoti, and supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Maybank Foundation through its Maybank Women Eco Weavers Programme.

The three-day event, hosted by Sarawak’s award-winning singer-songwriter and sape player Alena Murang, featured panel discussions on topics ‘Innovation in Woven Textiles’, ‘Patronage and the Woven Cloth’, on ‘The Woven Cloth – Less or More’, and fashion showcases by renowned designers with handwoven textiles and fabrics as the main element. At the closing of the event, Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah applauded the organisers for presenting traditional handwoven textiles, especially the pua kumbu, keringkam and Sarawak songket on the world stage and for supporting rural communities through this project.

The poster for the TENUN Fashion Week 2021
Pic Credit: TENUN Fashion Week 2021 Website

A look at some of the handwoven-textile based garments featured in the fashion showcase.
Pic Credit: Borneo Post

Immerse yourself in the authentic longhouse experience

Leave the hustle and bustle of city life behind and experience living with the indigenous people of Sarawak. Replace hot hotel showers with cool and refreshing river dips. Forget artificial air-conditioners as you enjoy the cool and fresh air of the natural surroundings. Get connected to nature as you embark on an authentic longhouse experience in Sarawak.

Sarawak is truly a celebration of different cultures. Malaysia’s largest state is home to 27 ethnic groups speaking 45 different languages and dialects. Each group boasts their very own unique stories, beliefs, traditions and cultures.

Enjoy the culinary delights of the different cultures, dance to traditional music played by master musicians on unique Sarawakian instruments, listen to the stories, folklore and legends of the respective ethnic groups and discover the meanings of the tribal tattoos. No indigenous-living experience is more complete, authentic and fulfilling than spending a day with the local community at a longhouse — usually located approximately an hour’s drive away from the nearest city or town. Other longhouses may require boat rides that cut through forests.


Morning view outside Sarawak Cultural Village longhouse architectural model
Image source: Damian Pankowiec

What is a traditional longhouse experience?

Sarawak is a constantly evolving state and this has seen many of the longhouses being rebuilt with bricks and mortar. Despite this, there is still a number of longhouses located all across the state that has remained true to their roots. Many of these also provide lodging for guests to provide them with an authentic longhouse experience.

Bear in mind though that the experience provided aims to be as genuine as possible. As such some of these longhouses may not have access to direct electricity and may require generators to keep electrical appliances and devices running. It is therefore recommended to bring your own portable power sources for your needs. But fret not – you would probably not use your smart devices much as the longhouse communities have plenty of activities planned for you to partake in and enjoy.


A ruai is a long communal space in a traditional longhouse
Image source: Robas

A traditional longhouse is – as the name implies – a house that extends in length. It can accommodate up to thirty families. The house stands on stilts and a large area of the structure is made up of a long communal space called ruai. Upon arriving at a longhouse, you will be immediately greeted by the chief and the community with the traditional welcoming ngajat dance alongside tabuh music. Thereon, let the food and celebrations begin.


Drying of harvested black peppers outside the Iban longhouse
Image source: Dave G. Houser

Activities

A stay at the longhouse truly allows you to take a step back and smell the roses. You will find yourself enjoying the views and the morning sunlight as you lounge and relax at the ruai in the mornings. Watch the locals go about their daily activities as they harvest their crops. The surrounding land, functions like an extension of the longhouse. It is usually laden with crops, produce and farm animals. These lands are owned by the families of the community, but some families own bigger farming plots further from the longhouse of which will require longer travel.

If you do not mind mosquito bites – as well as a bit of dirt under your nails – you might enjoy keeping the locals company during their bumai business. Sipping cold coffee from plastic flasks in the afternoon during bumai breaks and enjoying the lush-green view and fresh forest air is a humbling and rewarding life experience.

Weaving rattan mats and baskets in the longhouse
Image source: Matyas Rehak

If you are more of an indoor person, you can choose to partake in a number of activities at the ruai. When not busy raising the young ones, the local women will carry out handicraft projects. These include weaving mats and baskets from rattan. On some occasions, you may get to observe an indigenous woman weaving ceremonial cloth on a large wood loom. You can also give it a try and see if this is a skill you can bring home with you.


Enjoying local delicacies sitting cross-legged on the rattan mat
Image source: Sarawak Travel

Eat like the locals

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and the Sarawakians know this. Do not be surprised if you are served a meal as heavy as that of lunch and dinner for breakfast. If your refreshing morning cold bath of gathered water does not wake you, the bitter but aromatic freshly brewed coffee prepared by your host will perk you up after a good night’s sleep on a floor mattress.

In the evening, dinner is often served on the rattan mat spread out on the floor. The local delicacies are wide-ranging – from chicken cooked in bamboo, the Dayak’s tomato-like sour eggplant cooked with clear soup and dried fish, to fermented Chinese herring or kasam terubok, stir fried cangkuk manis and taro roots.

Priceless experiences and memories

A cosy family bedroom at the longhouse for guests of all ages
Image source: Sarawak Tourism Board

As you start preparing to leave for your home, take one last look around the longhouse. You will be amazed at how sturdy the structure is even after decades of withstanding the hot and humid climate of Sarawak and the tropical storms associated with the Borneo rainforests. You feel the cool rattan mats beneath your bare feet. You hear the morning roosters crowing from their coops. The children will gather in the ruai to observe with keen eyes as you gather your belongings, and to bid farewell.

You take one last Instagram photo with your host and the chief. You strap on your sandals at the bottom of the stairs and make your way back to the city with a gift of home-brewed rice wine gifted by your host, a warm heart filled with priceless memories and an amazing authentic experience.

Sia Sitok Sarawak Accomodation – Staycation Deals Not To Be Missed!

Experiencing Covid-19 cabin fever? Break free this October with “Sia Sitok Sarawak Accommodation” (SSSA), an intrastate staycation not to be missed!

Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) recently launched the newly extended version of the homegrown Sia Sitok brand as part of its’ additional measures to support the accommodation sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Running from 1st October – 30th November, SSSA is an extended campaign of the Sia Sitok Sarawak brand offering a 50% DISCOUNT on accommodation rates for hotels and resorts registered under MAH Sarawak Chapter’s platform at www.hotelsarawak.com.my to Sarawakians and residents.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MTAC) YB Dato Sri Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, who officiated the event launch virtually said that MTAC and Sarawak Tourism Board are fully committed to find ways to incentivise and support the tourism industry. As such, the SSSA campaign will assist the accommodation sector to remain competitive during the pandemic.

“Sarawak is blessed with exciting wonders from culture, adventure, nature, food and festivals (or CANFF) which are uniquely Sarawak. We hope to attract our fellow Sarawakians to experience the hospitality of Sarawak through this great offer and become ambassadors of Sarawak by sharing their experience to their friends and family,” Abdul Karim said while emphasizing on the importance of adhering to the state’s SOP to ensure the safety of the public during the pandemic.

Sarawakians can choose from any of the 33 hotels and resorts under the SSSA campaign throughout Sarawak for their next staycation plan. Bookings can be made from now to 31st October 2021 at www.hotelsarawak.com.my and staying period will start from now to 30th November 2021.

For more information, please visit www.sarawaktourism.com


Sia Sitok Sarawak Accommodation” (SSSA), an intrastate staycation not to be missed! Bookings can be made from now to 31st October 2021 at www.hotelsarawak.com.my and staying period will start from now to 30th November 2021.

Juh, Jom ke Sarawak!

To mark the reopening of interstate travel into Sarawak, let’s start planning for that much deserved getaway year-end with the new “Jom Ke Sarawak” (JKS) interstate campaign by Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), in collaboration with Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF), Association of Sarawak Inbound Agencies (ASIA) and Shopee Malaysia.

This campaign offers 16 exhilarating tour packages to Sarawak’s southern, central and northern region- exclusively on Shopee Malaysia starting as low as RM176 for a three-day, two-night stay.

The Kuching tour packages offer travellers a feel of Sarawak’s diversity, whether it’s a visit to our award-winning living museum like our Sarawak Cultural Village, or a chance to get acquainted with orang utans at Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Meanwhile, travellers to Sibu will discover the many hidden wonders of Sarawak’s countryside in the central region, namely in Bintangor, Sarikei, Dalat and Mukah.

For nature and adventure lovers, the Miri tour packages will let you explore Sarawak’s iconic Gunung Mulu National Park, recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Niah National Park, plus the opportunity to make your way to enjoy the serenity of the Bario Highlands. We invite travellers to take advantage of the return flights into Mulu via MASwings, whether you’re coming in from Kota Kinabalu, Miri, or Kuching.

STB Chief Executive Officer, Sharzede Datu Haji Salleh Askor believes that JKS campaign comes as a golden opportunity for travellers to rediscover Sarawak at its full potential at a discounted price.

“After what could be described as a tough year, it is finally the right time to reset, refresh and rejuvenate this year end. Sarawak has a lot to offer, varying from adventure to leisure, recreation, gastronomy, heritage, and culture making it the right choice for your next vacation plan,” Sharzede said.

Bookings can be made from October 15th until December 5th, 2021 through Shopee Malaysia’s platform and the travel period starts from October 15th until December 15th, 2021. To find out more about the campaign, please visit https://shopee.com.my/m/sarawak-tourism.



The Jom Ke Sarawak campaign offers 16 exhilarating tour packages to Sarawak- exclusively on Shopee Malaysia starting as low as RM176 for a three-day, two-night stay.

The 9th International Bornean Frog Race 2021

Sarawak holds the greatest number of national parks and nature reserves. It is undeniably an ideal destination for wildlife enthusiasts, birdwatchers and nature photographers. However, there is an urgent need for conservation projects to protect the richly diverse ecosystem.

Among the conservation efforts to raise awareness and research on the amphibians of Borneo is the annual International Bornean Frog Race. This year, the 9th International Bornean Frog Race 2021 will be held virtually with monthly webinars and virtual photographic competition that will run for 90 days from 1st September 2021 – 29 November 2021 with the objective to highlight Borneo’s biodiversity and the region’s threatened amphibians.

Approximately 190 amphibian species are recorded in Borneo and 140 species are endemic to the island, including the Matang Narrow-mouthed frog, the second smallest frog in the world and also Bornean Horned Frog, Wallace’s Flying Frog and White-eared Tree Frog. It is not too late for nature lovers or photography enthusiasts to participate in the 90-day virtual photographic competition race. It is also a great opportunity for you to unwind and reconnect with nature.

For more information on the 9th International Bornean Frog Race 2021, please visit www.internationalborneanfrograce.com

Bornean Horned Frog
Photo by Tan Song Wei

Wallace’s Flying Frog
Photo by Tan Song Wei

White-eared Tree Frog
Photo by Tan Song Wei