Sarawak Welcomes Back Tourism Activities

KUCHING – Sarawak hopes to get as much needed boost in its domestic tourism numbers with tourism activities reopening since June 17, 2020 onwards. Starting from this date, specific tourism, arts and cultural activities will resume operations during the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO). 

Basic guidelines on social distancing, personal hygiene, temperature scanning, sanitisation of public facilities should be observed, while staff, guests and contractors are required to download the MySejahtera and COVIDTrace apps, to facilitate necessary contact tracing.

According to Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Youth and Sports Sarawak, Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, after months of inactivity, we are now ready to open our doors again with the hope that the RMCO will live up to its name with stringent SOP’s in place. We hope confidence will rebound and people will start to travel again and consider Sarawak as their preferred destination with so much to discover.

In a recent announcement, homestays, hotels, adventure and extreme tourism, scuba diving and snorkelling, theme parks (dry parks only), arts and culture museums, galleries, archives, handicraft centres and memorials are allowed to resume by complying with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guidelines set by the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).

Tour operators can receive and sell bookings for domestic tour packages and activities allowed by the government. However, no overseas travel packages are permitted, and operators are encouraged to do online promotion for their packages, to substitute the promotional exhibitions or roadshows. Meanwhile, hoteliers are to limit the capacity of meeting rooms or conference halls by up to 50 per cent and attendees should practice social distancing besides keeping a record of the attendees’ details for at least six months. 

However, saunas, swimming pools, pubs, bars, karaoke and buffet restaurants are still not allowed, while music, dance or theatre schools and photography studios could operate from 17 June onwards, but operators or premise owners must inform clients on the SOP measures.

In addition, the creative industry sector such as production houses and studios can also start their operation activities for music, filming, videography, photography, graphic design and animation effective June 17 by observing the necessary SOPs. They will need to provide travelling records for the past 4 weeks for applications of necessary license and permits. 

The details of the SOPs can be downloaded from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak website at mtac.sarawak.gov.my.

Re-Opening of Four Nature Reserves in Sarawak

KUCHING – Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) has announced the re-opening of four selected nature reserves to the public starting June 8, 2020, based on the decision made by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) and watch out for more to reopen by June 17.

The selected nature reserves are Sama Jaya Nature Reserve (Kuching), Bukit Lima Nature Reserve (Sibu), Piasau Nature Reserve (Miri) and Bukit Sembiling Nature Reserve (Limbang). During this time, visitors must comply with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that SFC has put in place.

Activities such as ecotourism tours, picnic, children playground recreational activities and physical fitness area, group physical exercise, religious or social functions, trekking outside authorised tracks, as well as disturbing, touching and feeding of wildlife are not permitted.

Children below 12 are not allowed to enter and all names and contact numbers of each visitor must be recorded. Priority will be given to those who had booked prior to their visit. The SOP pointed out that a maximum of 100 visitors are allowed per day, depending on the discretion of the respective wardens.

SFC has also designated separate trails for jogging and walking, while facilities such as café and the park shop will remain closed. Opening hours for senior citizens are from 7am to 10am, and adults from 2pm to 6pm. The reserves will be closed between 10am to 2pm.

For more inquiries, the public can contact the respective nature reserve offices; Sama Jaya Nature Reserve (+6082-365194 or +6011-25181901), Bukit Lima Nature Reserve (+6082-228108 or +6019-4685402), Piasau Nature Reserve (+6085-644487 or +6016-8898590) and Bukit Sembiling Nature Reserve (+6085- 215121 or +6013-8121930).

Bukit Lima Nature Reserve is one of the selected nature reserves which re-opened on June 8. (Photo by Sarawak Forestry Corporation)
Bukit Lima Nature Reserve is one of the selected nature reserves which re-opened on June 8. (Photo by Sarawak Forestry Corporation)

Piasau Nature Reserve’s Newest Member – Marco!

Piasau Nature Reserve, Miri welcomed another successful nesting of its Oriental Pied Hornbill, with the birth of Marco in April this year.

Marco is the seventh successful breeding of the Oriental Pied hornbill species by Piasau’s lovebirds, Jimmy and Juliet.

The name Marco was officially announced in the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) Facebook page after it was chosen by the public via a Facebook poll created by SFC on May 30.

It has received the most number of votes among other names suggested. These included Louis, Quarantino, Green and Covid.

Photo shows Marco, the new born Oriented Pied Hornbill in Piasau Nature Reserve. (Photo by Sarawak Forestry Corporation)
Photo shows Marco, the new born Oriented Pied Hornbill in Piasau Nature Reserve.
(Photo by Sarawak Forestry Corporation)

Sarawak To Woo Local Tourists

The global COVID-19 outbreak has severely impacted the Tourism industry in Sarawak. In an effort to kick start recovery of the tourism sector, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said that the state is shifting its strategy, to focus on ASEAN and domestic markets.

“We are narrowing our focus to key markets, to be more integrated but achievable post-Covid-19,” adding that the state would be participating in domestic and regional marketing initiatives for this purpose. Domestic travel will play a huge role during this recovery. Hence, the reason for realigning our marketing strategy”, he said.

While travelling is unlikely at the moment due to health and safety reasons, Sarawak will focus on digital marketing as its core approach to increase destination visibility and connect with consumers to create confidence among partners, as well as travellers. We need to leverage on digital marketing to create ripple effect messages and remind travellers that Sarawak is waiting to be explored”, he added.

In the meantime, Sarawak is looking into improving the standards and quality of the state’s tourism products which includes creative packages, new tourism infrastructures, facilities and identifying other “wow” factor to push for arrivals.

Darulhana V2

Bung Sadung Climbathon Challenge 2020 Postponed

KUCHING – The 3rd Bung Sadung Climbathon Challenge scheduled to take place on August 30, 2020 has been postponed to a later date due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Those who have registered for the event will be reimbursed accordingly.

“It is unfortunate that the climbathon will not take place this year, but the safety and wellbeing of participants and the community is our top priority. We need to do our part to help break the transmission of COVID-19”, said the organising committee’s spokesperson.

This year’s climbathon is organised by Kampung Bunga’s Development and Security committee in collaboration with the Serian District Council and supported by Serian Resident Office and Tarat Sports and Recreation.

Photo shows the Bung Sadung Climbathon flag off in 2018. (Photo by Bung Sadung, Serian Sarawak)
Photo shows the Bung Sadung Climbathon flag off in 2018.
(Photo by Bung Sadung, Serian Sarawak)

Re-Strategizing Sarawak Tourism Industry

KUCHING – The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah believes that by re-strategizing the state’s tourism industry, it will help to rebound the industry back to its glory days.

“I strongly believe with the kind of products that we have like our greenery, our rivers, our cultures, and with the right support from the Government, I think maybe in a year and a half we would be able to restore our tourism sector,” he told reporters after a press conference with the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Johari Tun Openg on the formation of the Sarawak Economic Action Council (SEAC).

In the press conference, the Chief Minister of Sarawak had also announced that the Council had reviewed the development strategies under the 12th Malaysia Plan as part of the State Economic Exit Strategy Post Covid-19.

Sarawak will anchor on two core principles; Digital Economy and Environmental Sustainability which consists of ten key propositions, which includes those beyond leisure tourism that affects the tourism industry.

Photo shows the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah during a short interview after the press conference with Sarawak Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Johari Tun Openg on the formation of the Sarawak Economic Action Council (SEAC). (Photo courtesy of The Borneo Post Online)
Photo shows the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah during a short interview after the press conference with Sarawak Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Johari Tun Openg on the formation of the Sarawak Economic Action Council (SEAC). (Photo courtesy of The Borneo Post Online)

Sarawak State Government’s Guidelines For The Re-Opening Of Economic & Social Activities During The Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) COVID-19

On May 1, 2020, the Malaysian Government had announced the implementation of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) to allow economic sectors to re-open from May 4 onwards.

With the announcement of CMCO, the Sarawak State Government had prepared guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the re-opening of the state’s economic sectors starting May 12. However, any sector and activities involving mass gatherings, bodily contact, or where social distancing is not possible, cannot be implemented and shall remain restricted.

The guidelines can be found at the Sarawak Tourism Website at https://sarawaktourism.com/news/conditional-movement-control-order-cmco/.

SARAWAK STATE GOVERNMENT'S GUIDELINES FOR THE RE-OPENING OF ECONOMIC & SOCIAL ACTIVITIES DURING THE CONDITIONAL MOVEMENT CONTROL ORDER (CMCO) COVID-19For latest updates regarding other sectors and industries, stay tuned to the Sarawak Public Communication Unit (UKAS) official Facebook page or any of the trusted local news publications as mentioned above.

A Different Ramadan Celebration

KUCHING – With the Movement Control Order (MCO) in place until May 12, the atmosphere of Ramadan, the hustle and the bustle of the Ramadan Bazaar and the general festive preparation for the breaking of fast, is surely missed by Muslims and non-Muslims alike, locals as well as visitors to Sarawak.

As Malaysians are practicing social distancing in a bid to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is impossible to have a physical bazaar. However, Ramadan is simply not Ramadan in Sarawak without local delicacies such as Bubur Pedas, Sarawak Laksa, Mee Kolo, Umai (raw marinated fish), Teh C Peng (three-layered iced tea) and much more.

This Ramadan, thanks to the MCO, locals need to plan ahead and cook their own buka puasa dishes or alternatively order traditional favourites through e-bazaar services and apps.

“Although this year Ramadan is celebrated differently, we will  still continue with our tradition of  donating to the poor and with the help of technology,  spread positive and inspiring messages to cheer everyone,” said Sarawak Tourism Board’s (STB), Chief Executive Officer, Sharzede Datu Haji Salleh Askor.

“Indeed, Ramadan is a time of prayer, spiritual reflection and reaching out to aid the needy, more so during times of crisis such as this. While we stay safe at home with our families, we can also connect with friends and relatives virtually, still fostering a spirit of community bonding during this difficult time. We should continue to be grateful for we still can celebrate Ramadan with our families with food on the table,” she added.

This pandemic shall pass. To all Muslims out there, stay safe, stay at home and selamat berpuasa.

Photo shows a bustling Ramadan bazaar at Kubah Ria, Kuching, taken in 2019.  (Photo by Kuching Browsecities Enhancing Lifestyles)
Photo shows a bustling Ramadan bazaar at Kubah Ria, Kuching, taken in 2019.
(Photo by Kuching Browsecities Enhancing Lifestyles)

STB Office Closure Due to The Covid-19 Outbreak

The Management and staff of Sarawak Tourism Board wishes all Muslims, partners, readers and well-wishers a Blessed Ramadan.

Please be informed that our main office will be closed from March 18 to May 12, to adhere to the Malaysian Government’s official instruction on the closure of Government institutions during the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

It is our utmost concern, especially towards our staffs, tourists and visitors alike, to keep safe and help to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

For further information, please contact us via email at [email protected] or visit our website at www.sarawaktourism.com.
STB-Ramadhan2020-ECard-English

Support for Our Unsung Heroes!

KUCHING – The Ministry of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development had distributed a total of 177,893 packs of food to the front-liners from 16 agencies from divisional to district levels across Sarawak from March 24 to April 2, 2020.

“Yesterday (April 2), I have approved requests for additional packs from PDRM (Royal Malaysia Police) and PGA (General Operations Force) as additional staff had to be deployed to further beef up on the enforcement of MCO (Movement Control Order)”, said the Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development, Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.

Apart from food, the Sarawak Government has also provided “Rest Rooms” at the Astana Wing Riverside Majestic to the medical staff who are front-liners at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH). It was made possible with the collaboration by Chong Estate Realty in fulfilling its corporate social responsibility (CSR).

“As of yesterday (April 2), 50 rooms were used by 120 doctors, nurses, assistant medical officers and drivers”, she added.

On behalf of the state government, Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah recorded her sincere thanks to all front-liners.

“We salute you for your committed services and sacrifices to combat and contain Covid-19.”

Photo of Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah, the Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development. (Photo by The Borneo Post)
Photo of Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah, the Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development. (Photo by The Borneo Post)