Sarawak Tourism Online Ecosystem Fund – Calling for Applicants!

The Sarawak Tourism Online Ecosystem Fund is a fund allocated by the Sarawak Tourism Board in collaboration with Sarawak industry partners. It is a catalytic programme to expand Sarawak Tourism’s digital footprint with an incentive funding of up to RM5,000 for tour operators.

Who can apply:

  • Applicants must be a registered trade company and licensed by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia.
  • Sarawak Inbound tour operators.

Categories:

Each tour operator can select ONE (1) category not exceeding RM5,000 per tour operator. These categories are:

  • Maximum RM5,000.00 for website development, design and maintenance costs. To include a new website; re-design / update of an existing website; web hosting costs; SEO (Search Engine Optimization); maintenance costs, etc.
  • Maximum RM5,000.00 support for booking engine costs. To incorporate a booking engine into an existing website; and / or monthly subscription fees for operators that already use booking engines.
  • Maximum RM5,000.00 for Digital Advertising. To include social media boosting / search engine marketing / pay per click, etc. Includes Facebook, Instagram, Google Ads, YouTube, etc.
  • Maximum RM5,000.00 for content production. To include video production costs, blog articles, photography costs for photo banks or use on websites or social media, etc.

The application is subjected to a first come first serve basis. The spaces are limited and currently, 75% of the applications have been taken up. Therefore, act now and don’t miss this opportunity!

The duration for application is from July 1 to December 31, 2020. To apply, visit https://sarawaktourism.com/stb-incentives/

Postponement and Cancelled Events 2020

The 16th Borneo International Kite Festival which is scheduled to be held from September 30 to October 4, 2020 in Bintulu has been postponed to a later date.

Borneo International Kite Festival (BIKF) Chairman, Datuk Talip Zulpilip said at a press conference that BIKF involves mostly kite flyers from foreign countries with thousands of attendees expected at one time. Hence, it would be difficult to observe the social distancing rule among participants.

Meanwhile the 12th Sibu International BASE Jumping, initially held on September 18 to 27, 2020 in Sibu has been cancelled. It was announced by Sibu Resident, Charles Siaw on August 6, 2020. Other major events cancelled in Sibu are the Borneo Cultural Festival, Selangau Festival and Sibujaya Festival.

To know more about the events, visit Sarawak Tourism Board Official Website at  https://sarawaktourism.com/

Photo shows the different types of kites showcased during the Borneo International Kite Festival (BIKF) 2014 (left) and the participants of Sibu International BASE Jumping 2019 taking off from Wisma Sanyan (right).
Photo shows the different types of kites showcased during the Borneo International Kite Festival (BIKF) 2014 (left) and the participants of Sibu International BASE Jumping 2019 taking off from Wisma Sanyan (right).

Ornamental Oar – Latest Historical Collection at The Brooke Gallery

KUCHING – A 120-year-old 1.5-metre long ornamental wooden oar is the latest addition to the Brooke Gallery at Fort Margherita. 

Brooke Museum’s manager, Salliza Sideni said that the oar, with carved Dayak motifs which was believed to have been given to Anthony Walter Dayrell Brooke, the last Rajah Muda of Sarawak, sometime in the 1920s when he was travelling upriver.

It is also said that the oar had been kept in Britain for many years before it was returned to Sarawak by the Brooke Museum Director, Jason Brooke during his trip back to the city.

“From the looks of it, the oar is believed to be made from Beluan wood, a quality wood which is only found in Borneo Island. We are delighted that this artefact had survived for a long time and we are now able to display it at the Brooke Gallery for Sarawakians and visitors to see”, she added.

This year, the iconic Kuching landmark Fort Margherita celebrates its 140th Anniversary with the reopening of The Brooke Gallery on July 13.

Photo shows Brooke Museum manager, Salliza Sadeni showcasing the 120-year-old 1.5-metre long ornamental wooden oar. (Photo credit: New Sarawak Tribune).
Photo shows Brooke Museum manager, Salliza Sadeni showcasing the 120-year-old 1.5-metre long ornamental wooden oar. (Photo credit: New Sarawak Tribune).

Sarawak Adds Latest Collection to Its Historical Findings

KANOWIT – New artefacts in the form of ceramics and cannon ball fragments were discovered during an archaeological survey conducted by the Sarawak Museum Department for the restoration process of Fort Emma.

“The ceramic is believed to be from the 17th century. We also found fragments of a cannon ball. These historical findings are evidence of activities that happened at the fort site in the past,” said Sarawak Museum Department acting Director, Tazudin Moktar.

“Based on history, it is believed that the government officials during the Brooke era were murdered in Kanowit”, he added.

The new findings will be studied further and displayed at the exhibition area of Fort Emma together with other exhibition artefacts.

Fort Emma is a 19th Century Brooke Era wooden fort and the main landmark at Kanowit. It is among the five forts built during the colonial era currently undergoing restoration and upgrading works in Sarawak.

The others are Fort Lily in Betong, Fort Brooke in Julau, Fort Hose in Marudi and Fort Sylvia in Kapit.

Photo shows Fort Emma after its restoration process completed in February this year. (Photo credit: Borneo Post Online).
Photo shows Fort Emma after its restoration process completed in February this year.
(Photo credit: Borneo Post Online).

Sarawak Cultural Village – An Opportunity Not to Be Missed!

KUCHING – Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) has announced new discounted entrance rates for visitors who want to visit the largest living museum in Sarawak with various packages offered. The rates are available from July 1 to December 31, 2020.

The ‘Cuti Berami-Rami’ package rate entitles local Sarawakians to a discount of between 33 to 50 percent from the previous rate, which is from RM30 to RM20 per adult and RM20 to RM10 for children aged between 2 to 12 years old.

Meanwhile, the ‘Cuti-Cuti Malaysia’ package is RM60 per adult and RM30 for children aged between 2 to 12 years old – applicable to non-Sarawakians. Previously, the rate was RM95 and RM60, respectively.

Meanwhile, in conjunction with SCV’s 30th Anniversary celebration, it is also offering family packages suitable for those who are eager to spend their quality time with their families and at the same time, be part of SCV’s 30 years of glorious journey. The packages are the ‘Family Together Gather Package’ and ‘Family Berami Package’.

Previously, the ‘Family Together Gather Package’ was offered at RM270 (for 2 adults and 2 children) and RM320 (for 2 adults and 3 children) but the new discounted rates are at RM180 and RM210 respectively.

For Sarawakian families, they can go for the ‘Family Berami Package’ where the new rates are RM60 for 2 adults and 2 children, and RM123.60 for 2 adults and 3 children.

All these special rates and packages are inclusive of the entrance fee, a visit to the ethnic houses and watching cultural performances.

For more information, visit the Sarawak Cultural Village official website at https://scv.com.my/ or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SarawakCulturalVillageOFFICIAL.

Photo shows the entrance of Sarawak Cultural Village.
Photo shows the entrance of Sarawak Cultural Village.

Delving into Borneo’s First Ever Full-Fledged VR Theme Park

The D-Virtual Park, located on Jalan Meranek, Kota Samarahan is Borneo’s first ever full-fledged Virtual Reality (VR) Theme Park which is now open to the public.

The VR theme park offers 10 adrenaline pumping VR entertainment rides that would swipe anyone off their feet. The rides include VR Speed Cruiser, VR Giant Slide, The Enchanted Chamber, VR Gatling Gun, VR Knight Rider, VR D’Battleship, VR Gyrate, VR Trekker, VR Quad Squad and the park’s all-time favourite, VR Elevation D’luxe.

The public can also experience entertainment services such as eSports Centre and a customised Hologram Theatre screenplay, which showcases the most revolutionary form of cinematic experience. It also houses SD X Studio, SD X FabLab, SDX-Arena, GiGA Virtual-Cafe and D-Tamu. They provide a Virtual Tour for the public to get an early insight of the facility which can be found on its main website.

During the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), D-Virtual Park will be reducing the number of visitors in accordance with the health and safety procedures imposed by the Government.

“We are evaluating several new and enhanced safety measures to ensure everyone’s safety while we work, stay and play at D-Virtual Park”, said Dato Dr. Ir. Ts. Mohd Abdul Karim Abdullah, Serba Dinamik Group Berhad Managing Director regarding the changes in the park’s operation procedures.

Visitors are required to wear facemasks upon entering the premise and to practise social distancing, while the park’s staff will be managing the crowd during their rides, at queues and at the café. Guests will need to book tickets in advance and scan a QR code before entering for contact tracing.

For more information, visit D-Virtual Park main website at
https://d-virtualpark.com/ or their main Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DVirtualParkKotaSamarahan/.

Photo courtesy of D-Virtual Park
Photo courtesy of D-Virtual Park

Appreciation Dinner for STB Chairman

Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) held an appreciation dinner for the outgoing STB Chairman, Datuk Abdul Wahab Bin Aziz who is retiring after his 2-year term, along with the STB Board of Directors, who had successfully completed their tenure.

The appreciation dinner was held on July 6, 2020 at the Grand Margherita Hotel Kuching. It was attended by the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, the Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew and STB staff.

Last year, Sarawak had achieved commendable results for its visitor arrivals which was 5.22% higher than 2018.

“If it were not because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we would be able to achieve our target this year as I am confident that we have the right ingredients to attract more visitors”, said Datuk Haji Abdul Karim. He hoped that by 2021, Sarawak would be able to come out strongly despite the challenges faced, to show the State’s focus of developing the tourism industry and helping Sarawak to flourish.

STB Chief Executive Officer, Sharzede Datu Haji Salleh Askor also mentioned her gratitude to the STB Chairman and the Board of Directors for their commitment throughout their term.

“It has been an honour to work closely with the Chairman in handling the various challenges within the industry, with the support from the Minister and the Board of Directors. This year, we were so confident that we could hit the 5 million target, with 16% increase in January, however, we are now faced with unprecedented challenges. We will give our best to bring the State’s tourism to a faster recovery, working closely with the industry players and in alignment with MOTAC’s direction,” she said.

  Photo shows the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (second right) presenting an appreciation gift for STB Chairman, Datuk Abdul Wahab Bin Aziz (second left), with STB CEO, Sharzede Datu Haji Salleh Askor (right) and Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew (left).

Photo shows the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (second right) presenting an appreciation gift for STB Chairman, Datuk Abdul Wahab Bin Aziz (second left), with STB CEO, Sharzede Datu Haji Salleh Askor (right) and Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew (left).

Diveheart Borneo: Bringing Smiles To Some Very Special Kids

Meryl, a lovely nine year-old girl with cerebral palsy has found confidence in herself when her mother, Kimberly, signed her to try out the Diveheart Kids programme by Diveheart Borneo team and immediately she fell in love with scuba diving.

The Diveheart Kids programme in Kuching, Sarawak is the first one to have been done in Borneo. The programme aims to instill the “can do” spirit in participants, inspiring them to take on challenges that they may not have considered before.

The in-water training was organised by the local Kuching PADI dive centre, Premier Marine and Scuba Centre and the Diveheart training was conducted by Ernest C.Teo, a PADI Instructor and  Diveheart Borneo Coordinator. Among the volunteers were medical professionals and a professional rehab physiotherapist.

“Scuba therapy has benefitted Meryl in a lot of ways. She is able to move every part of her body and it gets her to think what she needs to do. Nowadays, she is more alert of her surroundings and feels more confident of herself,” Kimberly added. 

Diveheart is a non-profit organisation based in Chicago, USA, offering scuba programmes for people with disability or adaptive scuba. Currently, it is the leading adaptive scuba training organisation in the world. While here in Asia, Diveheart is currently available only in Malaysia and at two locations, Kuala Lumpur and Kuching. 

Diveheart supports educational scuba diving programmes to provide both physical and psychological therapeutic value to participants. With the programme, the Diveheart team discovered the forgiving, weightless wonder of water which provides the perfect gravity-free environment for those who might otherwise struggle on land. Underwater, we are equal.

For those who are interested to be a Diveheart volunteer, they can contact the Premier and Scuba Centre in Kuching at +6011-10572822 (Office) or visit http://www.divekuching.com/index.html. Volunteers do not have to be scuba divers as there are many areas they can be of assistance.

Photo shows one of the activities for the Diveheart Kids programme.
Photo shows one of the activities for the Diveheart Kids programme.


Reopening Of Sarawak National Parks

KUCHING – Following the reopening of the Sarawak tourism sector, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah had also announced the reopening of Sarawak national parks in stages to the public from June 17, 2020 onwards. 

National parks which reopened on June 17 are Kubah National Park, Gunung Gading National Park, Tanjung Datu National Park, Santubong National Park, Talang Satang National Park, Wind/Fairy Cave National Park, Batang Ai National Park, Samajaya National Park, Maludam National Park, Gunung Mulu National Park, Lambir National Park, Niah National Park, Loagan Bunut National Park and Pulong Tau National Park.

Meanwhile, Bako National Park, Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, Kuching Wetland National Park and Miri-Sibuti Coral Reef National Park was reopened on June 22, 2020.

“For national parks, leisure and adventure activities, nature walk, caving, snorkelling and scuba diving with or without company of park guide, wildlife viewing activities and expedition activity in totally protected areas and wildlife centres are allowed”, said   Datuk Haji Abdul Karim.

“However, for trekking (leisure), only a maximum of ten (10) persons per group are allowed to enter at any one time per trail, while under trekking for adventure, only a minimum of two and a maximum of eight people per group are allowed to enter at any one time per trail,” he added.

As for adventure caving, only a minimum of two and a maximum of eight people per group are allowed to enter at any time and must be guided. Only specific forest trails, not exceeding three to five hours walk are allowed to be accessed.

The details of the SOPs can be downloaded through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak website at mtac.sarawak.gov.my or Sarawak Forestry Corporation official website at https://www.sarawakforestry.com/.

Photo shows the entrance to Kubah National Park – one of the national parks reopening on June 17
Photo shows the entrance to Kubah National Park – one of the national parks reopening on June 17

LitSara®: Borneo’s Natural Gift to Mankind

Blessed with breathtaking views and rich natural resources, one can find endless secrets hidden behind the health and beauty of the different communities in Sarawak.

The Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC), in partnership with the indigenous communities in Sarawak have studied and developed LitSara® products through its Traditional Knowledge (TK) Documentation Programme to bring out Borneo’s natural gift for all to enjoy.

LitSara®, a product derived from the indigenous communities’ traditional knowledge, comes from Sarawak Litsea (Litsea cubeba), a plant well known to the Bidayuh, Kelabit and Lun Bawang communities. It has been used by the communities for generations because of its culinary and healing properties.

The Bidayuh calls it “Pahkak” while the Kelabit and Lun Bawang calls it “Tenem”. Traditionally these communities use the fruit in their cooking, as medication for stomach ailments and its leaves to treat backaches.

The plant produces a scintillating scented essential oil that invigorates, rejuvenates and inspires one’s senses and instantly refreshes intone to the core. It also shows good antimicrobial and insect repellent properties, making it suitable as an active ingredient for personal care products.

LitSara® is a pilot project that utilises the acquisition of Prior Informed Consent (PIC) from participating communities, who are actively involved in implementing Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS). This is to ensure that the traditional knowledge is valued by those who use it and that benefits are shared equitably.

To know more, visit the LitSara official website at https://www.litsara.com/.

Photo shows a few of Litsara’s products. (Photo by Litsara)
Photo shows a few of Litsara’s products. (Photo by Litsara)