Rainforest Roadshows across Malaysia

This year, the Rainforest World Music Festival brings the music to you with a roadshow to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching, where you get to watch traditional performances, play Augmented Reality games and win tickets to the Festival.

The roadshow begins in from June 20 to 24 at the Curve in Kuala Lumpur, then later from June 25 to 26 at Suria KL.

Next stop from June 29 to July 1 is Suria Sabah Mall in KK, before ending back in Kuching at Plaza Merdeka from July 6 to 8.

At Adau will be featured at the roadshow playing a fusion of Orang Ulu and Dayak tunes with traditional instruments like the ‘Sape’ or boat lute of Borneo.

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80 contingents at ‘Nitih Daun’ Gawai Procession

Approximately 80 contingents from different Dayak associations from throughout Borneo   and representing those from Sabah, Kalimantan and Brunei will be joining Sarawak’s various Dayak associations during the ‘Nitih Daun’ procession during the Gawai Dayak celebration to be held in Kuching on June 22.

This year’s festival will be hosted by the Iban community and is expected to draw 3,200 participants.

The‘Nitih Daun’ was last held was in the 1980s, and this year many Sarawakians, it will be their first time attending or participating in it.

The Gawai celebrations this year will begin with cultural performances and pre-concert events on June 21 to be held at the Kuching Waterfront, followed by the procession starting from Tun Jugah building towards the Waterfront on June 22.

In conjunction with State-wide Gawai celebrations on June 23, the Gawai Bazaar 2018 programme will also be held in Miri, Bintulu, Sibu and Kuching.

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MATTA lauds removal of GST for benefit of local tourism

The domestic air fare between the Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak will be more affordable  with the doing away of the Good and Services Tax (GST) and will augur well for domestic tourism, said the president of the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA)Datuk Tan Kok Lian, during an interview recently.

Thus he lauded the federal Government’s decision to have the GST abolish effective June 1.

“The 0% GST is bound to promote spending by both locals and tourists, especially in terms of shopping as well as food and beverage, thus potentially increasing the price appeal of Malaysia as a travel destination,” Datuk Tan explained.

Domestic travelling is a huge part of Sarawak’s tourism industry, as Sarawak received 2,217,366 domestic visitors last year alone, which translates to a 45.7 percent of Sarawak’s total arrivals.

Italian Ambassador Visitation

 The Italian Ambassador to Kuala Lumpur, His Excellency (H.E.) Cristiano Maggipinto and his wife Tamara Hardikar Maggipinto were in Miri, Sarawak to show their country’s support for the Borneo Jazz Festival.

As part of his programme in Miri, he visited the Miri Visitors’ Information Centre.

The Embassy of Italy and the Italian Trade Agency were sponsors of the Borneo Jazz Festival and in support of the Festival and in collaboration with the Italian Festival 2018 there were a few side-events prepared during the Borneo Jazz Festival including an Italian movie screening in TGV cinema Miri on May 12 and an Italian food tasting event at the Coco Cabana for special invitees only on May 13.

Italian Ambassador Cristiano Maggipinto on the right next to Acting Chief Executive officer of Sarawak Tourism Board Mary Wan Mering at the Visitors Information Centre, Miri.
Italian Ambassador Cristiano Maggipinto on the right next to Acting Chief Executive officer of Sarawak Tourism Board Mary Wan Mering at the Visitors Information Centre, Miri.

Treasures from Nusantara Exhibition

30 Bornean historic artefacts are currently on display in the “Treasures from Nusantara” Exhibition, which was launched on May 16, and visitors and tourists to Kuching are encouraged to visit the exhibition.

The exhibition is displayed and open to the public with free admission at the Kuching Textile Museum, which opens daily from 9:00AM to 4:30PM.

The artefacts displayed were given back to Sarawak by the City of Delft, who announced the donation of the entire collection to the Sarawak Museum Department in November 2017.

Sarawak museum officer Puan Rahmah preparing a 100 year old Kenyah jacket for the exhibition.
Sarawak museum officer Puan Rahmah preparing a 100 year old Kenyah jacket for the exhibition.

New Zealanders get to “Meet Malaysia” and visit Sarawak

Low-cost airline AirAsia has launched the “Meet Malaysia” campaign on April 24, which aims to attract couples from New Zealand to visit Malaysia, specifically in Sarawak.

Anyone who chooses to match with the destination “Ma Laysia” on the Tinder dating app, stands a chance to win tickets to the Borneo Jazz Festival or Rainforest World Music Festival.

AirAsia hopes that the campaign will be able to attract travellers intent on visiting similar destinations like Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

AirAsia is the Sarawak Tourism Board’s official Airlines Partner for the Borneo Jazz Festival and Rainforest World Music Festival, which will take place on May 11 to 13 and July 13 to 15 respectively.

AirAsia operates seven flights per week from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur with connections to Kuching, Miri, Sibu and Bintulu.

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“Make it Malaysia” Mega Familiarisation Adventure

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) UK organised the MAS Make it Malaysia Mega Familiarisation (FAM) Adventure to Sarawak, covering attractions in Kuching and Mulu with 15 tour agents and officials from the UK on April 24 to 29.

The FAM trip lasted for six days and covered the Mulu National Park and its show caves in Mulu and Fort Margherita, Sunset River Cruise, Semenggoh Wildlife and Nature Centre, AnnahRais Longhouse, and Bako National Park in Kuching.

A tourism networking session between local tour operators and the visiting tour agents was also held in Kuching to facilitate possible new business ventures in marketing Sarawak to the UK travel market.

“It is a real privilege to make this week-long visit to Sarawak along with more than a dozen of our top selling UK agents, most of whom had never been to the region before,” said Steven Bresh, Head of Leisure Sales, MAS UK & Europe.

The UK has been Sarawak’s largest long-haul visitor market for many years, with 33,399 arrivals from the UK in 2017, a 6.8% increase from the year before.

UK travel agents on the Sunset River Cruise in Kuching
UK travel agents on the Sunset River Cruise in Kuching

Newest Family Member

The Orangutans of Semenggoh Wildlife Centre welcomed their newest family member, bringing the number of free-ranging orangutan up to 30.

The birth is believed to have happened on March 22, to 16 year old orangutan Sadamiah, who previously gave birth to a female orangutan Ruby five years ago.

The baby is yet to be named.

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Borneo Jazz 2018

The iconic Borneo Jazz festival in Miri is back and better than ever, with extended dates, a new venue and Zainal Abidin Mohamad as one of the performers.

The festival will now be held on 11 to 13 May, extending to three days instead of the usual two.

The new location has been announced, at Coco Cabana at the Marina Bay in Miri, a seaside location with an iconic seahorse lighthouse.

Having performed at the Borneo Jazz launch at Coco Cabana on March 21, internationally renowned artiste Zainal Abidin will be returning to Miri to perform during the festival.

Festival tickets are now available at https://jazzborneo.com/programme/tickets-info/

The Borneo Jazz is wholly owned by Sarawak Tourism Board and organised by No Black Tie Presents.00

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Sarawak Performance at MATTA Fair

Kuching and Mulu have topped the list as the most sought after destinations in the state for domestic travellers at the recent MATTA Fair at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) which was on March 16-18.

These were followed by Batang Ai, Bario and Ba’Kelalan, Sibu, the Sarawak Cultural Village, Serikin border market, Niah National Park as well as Bidayuh longhouses.

There were also number of honeymoon couples looking for nature attractions, particularly enquiring for the the Batang Ai Honeymoon packages, with Bako National Park and Mulu National Park as close seconds.

Amogha Tours and Travel, with support from Sarawak Tourism Board, showcased its Virtual Reality Teaser Tour of Sarawak in an attempt to increase visibility and interest of potential customers, resulting in an increase in sales as compared to last year.

Ashweein Narayanan, its executive director their sales at a 68.9% increase as compared to the previous MATTA fair.

“This goes without saying that having digital marketing initiatives such as Virtual Reality tours, as marketing tools is very effective and brings the scalability of the tourism sector to new levels of profitability and visibility,” Ashweein said.

The Sarawak Pavilion demonstrated various cultural related activities such as dance performance, blowpipe games, live Sape music as well as traditional cookies tasting, with many visitors taking pictures with performers.

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Photo of Malaysia Airlines air stewardesses posing with the traditional performers at the Sarawak Pavilion