Sarawak Tourism Industry Syndication

The Sarawak Tourism Industry Syndication ‘road tour’ began in Kuching on November 24, before moving on to Miri and Sibu on November 27 and 28 respectively.

The Syndication held annually is aimed  to touch base with local industry partners, renewing agreements and taking feedback as well as reviewing plans for 2018, with the aim of increasing visitor arrivals and tourism revenue into Sarawak.

The Sarawak Tourism Board renewed its marketing commitments from previous years while also taking suggestions on how to spearhead Sarawak’s tourism promotion to the world in the years to come.

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The Royal Visit

Britain’s Prince of Wales Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker Bowles, visited Kuching on November 6 as a part of their tour of Singapore, Malaysia and India.

The visit was to celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and Malaysia.

They were received at the airport by Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and his wife Datin Zuraini Abdul Jabbar.

 During their visit, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla visited the Sarawak Cultural Village, before Prince Charles continued to Semenggoh Wildlife Centre and Sarawak Bio Diversity Centre while Duchess Camilla joined the Purple Lily group, a non-governmental organisation, at the Old Court House.

The royal couple departed Kuching the following day for Penang.

Image shows Prince Charles firing a dart from a blowpipe, on his left Camilla and Abdul Karim.
Image shows Prince Charles firing a dart from a blowpipe, on his left Camilla and Abdul Karim.

Increased Connectivity between Sarawak and Singapore, With Airasia

Sarawak-Singapore connectivity is set to increase considerably as AirAsia announced that they will be increasing Kuching-Singapore flights from nine to 16 flights weekly as of December 26.

The low-cost carrier also announced a new route between Bintulu-Singapore, with four flights weekly, and the inaugural flight taking place on December 27.

AirAsia will also increase their Miri-Singapore route to seven times weekly.

These additional flights and new route are already available for booking.

Image from AirAsia website.
Image from AirAsia website.

MASwings Close Six Routes, Make Way For Commercial Airlines

MASwings will cease operations for six routes in Sabah and Sarawak by next year to make way for commercial airlines, according to Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai during the Budget 2018 debate on November 8.

The six routes are Kota Kinabalu-Sandakan, Kota Kinabalu-Tawau, Kota Kinabalu-Miri, Kuching-Miri, Kuching-Kota Kinabalu and Kuching-Sibu.

The routes were chosen after a study by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) was done on rural air services (RAS) and concluded that these routes had a high load factor up to 86%, which promises profitability for commercial airlines.

Photo Credit: Davig Hogan retrieved at http://blog.malaysia-asia.my/2009/07/mulu-airport-sarawak-flying-maswings.html
Photo Credit: Davig Hogan retrieved at http://blog.malaysia-asia.my/2009/07/mulu-airport-sarawak-flying-maswings.html

Sarawak at ITF 2017

International Travel Fair (ITF) Taipei held at the World Trade Centre from October 27 to 30 including Sarawak Tourism officers, China Dragon Travel Services Co. Ltd. and Pin Sing Travel & Tour (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd.

Present at the Sarawak Booth were Sarawak-born and Taiwan-based singers Melvin Sia and Eison Cai to promote Sarawak to the Taiwanese crowd.

They shared their experiences and their love for the local cuisine of their hometowns.

ITF is one of is one of Asia’s biggest travel fairs with a recorded 361,071 visitors last year and over 1,450 booths with more than 60 countries exhibiting.

Melvin Sia and Eison Cai at the Sarawak Booth in ITF.
Melvin Sia and Eison Cai at the Sarawak Booth in ITF.

Scoot Now Flies Daily on Singapore-Kuching Route

Scoot Airlines has launched its inaugural Singapore – Kuching flight on October 29 this year, arriving at Kuching International Airport at 9.55pm.

The new daily flights departing Singapore at 8.30pm on Sunday to Thursday, 6.10pm on Friday and 6.10am on Saturday.

The return flights from Kuching depart at 8.35pm on Sunday to Thursday, 8.15pm on Friday and 8.15am on Saturday.

“We are confident that the launch of Scoot’s direct flight between Kuching and Singapore will further help us to promote Sarawak and Kuching as the preferred nature tourism destination,” said the Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

Cultural troupe on the inaugural Scoot flight with Acting CEO if STB Mary Wan Mering (Second from left), Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture Datu Ik Pahon (Third from left) and Chief Commercial Officer of Scoot Vinod Kannan (first from right).
Cultural troupe on the inaugural Scoot flight with Acting CEO if STB Mary Wan Mering (Second from left), Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture Datu Ik Pahon (Third from left) and Chief Commercial Officer of Scoot Vinod Kannan (first from right).

Sarawak at WOMEX

Sarawak Tourism Board representatives attended this year’s World Music Expo (WOMEX) in Poland on October 25 to 29 to promote Sarawak’s trademark event, the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF).

Also attending this 23rd edition of WOMEX was local musician and artist Alena Murang and musician Eldrick Udos or ‘Bob’.

Both Alena and Bob have performed at the RWMF and are also impassioned supporters of maintaining and passing on the Bornean cultural heritage.

Alena and Bob were interviewed alongside RWMF Events Director, Angelina Bateman by Drago Vovk of Radio Sraka during the Expo.


From the right, Anglina Bateman, Bob, Alena Murang and Drago of Radio Sraka.
From the right, Anglina Bateman, Bob, Alena Murang and Drago of Radio Sraka.

Langkawi Development Authority Partnering with Sarawak

The Langkawi Development Authority is creating collaborative tour packages with Sarawak and Sabah to lure more tourists, especially from Europe.

The states have complementary tourism strengths, with Sarawak’s Mulu and Niah National Parks being able to complement Langkawi’s island tourism concept, Lada Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Azizan Noordin said.

Accessibility to these tourism attractions has been favourable with the launch of the AirAsia direct flight between Kuching and Langkawi and has recorded a high load factor since it was inaugurated in August.

Direct flights into Langkawi from China as well as future plans for flights from Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam and India to Langkawi will also enable tourists from those countries to extend their holiday to Sarawak.

Cultural performance during Kuching-Langkawi Inaugural Flight.
Cultural performance during Kuching-Langkawi Inaugural Flight.

National Parks and Wildlife Department

Sarawak will soon have its National Parks and Wildlife Department aimed to better manage Sarawak’s protected areas.

It will focus on wildlife protection and accelerating gazettement of totally protected areas in the state.

The roles of relevant existing departments such as the Forest Department and Sarawak Forestry Corporation are being redefined to make way for it.

Deputy Chief Minister Of Industrial & Entrepreneur Development and Second Minister Of Urban Development & Natural Resources, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said this new department would focus on promoting tourism in national parks, nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries, creating a more coordinated manpower to financially managing these areas.

As Sarawak places priority on conservation, with the state’s gazetting of over 944,000ha to date and involvement in projects like the Heart of Borneo, this new department would work towards growing conservation tourism in the state.

Wooden bridge over a river in Lambir Hills National Park
Wooden bridge over a river in Lambir Hills National Park

Mas, the youngest Semenggoh Orang Utan baby is now “Adopted”

The youngest Semenggoh Orang Utan baby is now being  “adopted” by the High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Malaysia, His Excellency Md. Shahidul Islam.  

Baby Mas’ formal adoption was  made during  Md. Shahidul’s visit to Semenggoh Wildlife Centre on September 23.

The adopters’ programme coordinated by the Sarawak Forestry Corporation aims  to  raise  funds for Semenggoh’s conservation programme and  help raise awareness on the importance of wildlife conservation in Sarawak.

The centre now houses 28 Orang Utans, aged between 1 and 46.

Year old Orangutan named Mas, after the three-letter abbreviation code for ‘Malaysia’ as she was born on Malaysia Day. Photo Credit: Sarawak Forestry Department.  
Year old Orangutan named Mas, after the three-letter abbreviation code for ‘Malaysia’ as she was born on Malaysia Day. Photo Credit: Sarawak Forestry Department.