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

Sarawak Tourism Board Launches The “Rediscover Yourself In Sarawak” Video

KUCHING –Sarawak Tourism Board’s new video entitled “Rediscover Yourself In Sarawak” was launched by the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching, on June 22, 2020, following the reopening of the Sarawak tourism sector.

The video aimed to inspire travellers to rediscover themselves in Sarawak and at the same time help to boost the State’s tourism sector. It is also targeted at the domestic market for intra-state and inter-state travel, by embracing the new norm of travelling. 

The video showcased a delightful glimpse of the serenity, tranquillity and beauty of Sarawak, surrounded by a 140 million-year-old rainforest. This would encourage travellers residing in or visiting Sarawak to explore places they have never been to before. 

The video will be available for viewing on the Sarawak Tourism Board’s website at https://sarawaktourism.com/ from June 23, 2020. 

We welcome you back to Sarawak! 

#RediscoverSarawak
#MoreSarawak

Incentives Launching For Sarawak Tourism Revival

KUCHING – The Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture Sarawak, Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah recently announced two new incentives; the Visitors Incentive Package (VIP) and the Sarawak Tourism Online Ecosystem Fund, for travel agents and tour operators in Sarawak to restart the tourism sector.

For the VIP package, Sarawak Travel Agencies will be receiving subsidies for tour packages sold for a minimum of 4 pax at any one time, excluding children below 2 years old. The categories are as follows:

  1. 3D/ 2N package – the agent will receive RM30 per person for the first four tourists and an additional RM20 for each subsequent tourist. 
  2. 4D/ 3N package – the agent will receive RM40 per person for the first four tourists and an additional RM25 for each subsequent tourist.
  3. 5D/ 4N package – the agent will receive RM50 per person for the first four tourists and an additional RM30 for each subsequent tourist.

Meanwhile, the second initiative – Sarawak Tourism Online Ecosystem Fund is a catalytic programme to expand Sarawak Tourism’s Digital footprint and Share of Voice (SOV) in collaboration with industry partners. For this incentive, Sarawak Tourism Board will allocate funding of up to RM5000 per tour operator for website development and maintenance, content production and digital advertising which focusses on Sarawak Tourism. 

All Sarawak tour operators are invited to apply for the incentives which will be made available from 1st July 2020 to 31st December 2020. To find out more, contact Sarawak Tourism Board at +6 082 410 944 or visit sarawaktourism.com.

Photo shows the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (fourth left) seen with other guests at the launch of the ‘Sarawak Reopens For Tourism’ package at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching. (Photo by BERNAMA)
Photo shows the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (fourth left) seen with other guests at the launch of the ‘Sarawak Reopens For Tourism’ package at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching. (Photo by BERNAMA)

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.

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)

Moving the Travel Industry Forward

It is without doubt that the recent COVID-19 outbreak has greatly impacted the tourism industry in Malaysia, including Sarawak, with a drop of 52% in its estimated tourist arrivals.

With health and safety placed as the top priority, people are now resorting to teleconferencing to communicate, rather than exhibitions and conferences as previously done. This has urged the authorities to review strategic plans to regain tourists’ confidence.

The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Youth and Sports Sarawak, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said that the state is reviewing the industry insights through surveys conducted by the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), Business Events Sarawak (BES) and Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) to analyse the impact of COVID-19 on the industry. It is also looking at ways to improve the current “responsible travel” experience in Sarawak, in addition to being innovative in marketing products after the Movement Control Order (MCO) is lifted.

“Tourism will be slower to pick up its momentum after the MCO is lifted compared to other industries. “It is the right time to do a product audit to improve the standard and quality of current products as well as introduce new products to tourists”, he said, adding that products and packages would be made available on e-commerce platforms by leveraging the Sarawak Travel App and portal.

Photo shows the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Youth and Sports Sarawak, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah during the interview with the StarMetro. (Photo from The Star)
Photo shows the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Youth and Sports Sarawak, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah during the interview with the StarMetro. (Photo from The Star)

Domestic Tourism Recovery Takes Off in Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA – The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) launched the domestic tourism recovery programme on June 10, 2020, in its efforts to revive the tourism sector and boost confidence in the market following the onset of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) starting from June 10 until August 31, 2020.

“Although the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY 2020) has been cancelled, efforts to promote the country as a safe tourism destination will still continue. This campaign also encompasses both the Tourism Recovery Plan and Culture Recovery Plan,” said the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Haji Shukri.

Detailed standard operating procedures have been proposed by the National Security Council and the Ministry of Health for eight sub sectors. The sub sectors are arts, culture and heritage exhibitions at cultural public facilities; hotel and accommodation; tour operator companies, tour guides, tourism training institute operations; homestay programmes’ adventure tourism, as well as scuba diving and snorkelling.

Several strategies had also been identified, which include prioritising the use of digital platforms such as social media, blogs, websites, as well as e-marketing to regain the public’s confidence to travel again. A survey would also be carried out to strengthen domestic tourism and in preparation for an increase in foreign tourists from nearby countries upon the reopening of the country’s borders.

“A ‘travel bubble’ will be created for green zone countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, China, Vietnam, Cambodia or ASEAN countries and those in the Asia Pacific region, that are safe and acknowledged by the World Health Organisation, the Health Ministry and Home Ministry,” she added.

Photo shows the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Haji Shukri during the launch of the domestic tourism recovery plan. (Photo by BERNAMA)
Photo shows the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Haji Shukri during the launch of the domestic tourism recovery plan. (Photo by BERNAMA)

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)

Reconnecting with Nature at The Village House

Dreaming of sinking your feet into flour-soft sand, forging through the depths of the rainforest and enjoying the beautiful evening sunsets? While we wait to get the OK to travel again, plan out your trips to enjoy the outdoors at The Village House, located near Santubong.

Fun In the Sun
The Village House one (1) night stay with breakfast, lunch and dinner provided and Bike Tour for only RM180 nett per person
*Twin sharing basis in Village Double/Twin room

Get Wild at the Wetlands
The Village House one (1) night stay with breakfast, lunch and dinner provided and Bike Tour for only RM300 nett per person
*Twin sharing basis in Village Double/Twin room.

Summit Mount Santubong
The Village House one (1) night stay with breakfast, lunch and dinner and Bike Tour for only RM250 nett per person
*Twin sharing basis in Village Double/Twin room.

Book now till June 30, 2020 for stays from June 10 to December 31, 2020.

The Village House only accepts guest above 12 years of age.

For further enquiries, visit The Village House at https://villagehouse.com.my/.

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