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

Rare Plant Rediscovered in Sarawak

The thismia neptunis, one of the rarest plants in the world last seen in 1866, was rediscovered on the riverbank of the Matang Massif late last year.

Thanks to the drawings of Italian botanist Odoardo Beccari, who spotted it in the same area in 1866, the plant was identified.

The discovery was made under the Research for Intensified Management of Bio-rich Areas in Sarawak (Rimba) programme, which is a collective research effort between the Sarawak Forestry Corporation and international institutions dedicated to research in biodiversity.

Photo credit: The Star Online. Image of the thismianeptunis
Photo credit: The Star Online. Image of the thismia neptunis

Wings Air Now Flies to Miri

Wings Air flew into Miri Airport from Pontianak for its inaugural flight on March 15 at 6.20pm and making a return trip at 6.50pm.

The starting price for tickets is at RM163.00, available online at www.malindoair.com and www.lionair.co.id

The flight arrives just in time to bolster Miri’s Visit Miri Year 2018 campaign, as they promote the attractions and international events like the AfroLatinFiestaand BorneoJazz, Mulu National Park and the Bario Highlands.

Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin expressed his excitement for the new flight, saying that the flights will further strengthen the relationship between Sarawak and Kalimantan, Indonesia, not only in the joint promotion of nature and culture tourism but also in business.

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Image taken at Wings Air Pontianak-Kuching inaugural flight to Kuching in January this year.

Sports Take Centre-stage in 2019

Sports will take centre-stage in Sarawak tourism for 2019 as the World Para Swimming Championships and the 21st Asia Masters Athletics Championships are set to be held in Kuching.

The World Para Swimming Championship will take place on July 29 to August 4 at the Pandelela Rinong Aquatic Centre, drawing an estimated attendance of 800 athletes and 400 officials from 80 countries.

The Asia Masters Athletics Championship to be held at the Sarawak Stadium from December 2 to 6 and is expected to draw 3,500 entries from around 30 countries.

These high profile events will set a precedent for international sports events in Sarawak, particularly para sports, as the sports and hospitality facilities are now focusing on increasing their accessibility.

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