Darul Hana Pedestrian Bridge Launch

The inauguration of the Darul Hana Pedestrian Bridge at Kuching Waterfront took place on November 11 with great fanfare and celebration.

Officiating the launch was the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“I hope this iconic bridge will become a new attraction for tourists to visit Sarawak especially Kuching,” Abang Johari said, mentioning that the bridge’s unique design is unlike any other in Southeast Asia.

The pedestrian bridge, also known as the ‘Golden S Bridge’, symbolizes the unity of Sarawak as it connects both sides of the Sarawak River, meeting in front of the State Legislative Assembly Building.

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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 Regatta and Kuching Waterfront Festival

The Sarawak Regatta and the Kuching Waterfront Festival will take place on November 17 to 19 at the Kuching Waterfront.

This annual event showcases the boating prowess of participants from villages around Sarawak, various government organisations, private sectors, independent participants from neighbouring countries of Indonesia and Brunei.

The Kuching Waterfront Festival features activities like “Brooke Swim”, Raft Tug-of-war, and duck catching as well as various exhibitions and markets along the waterfront selling cultural crafts, wares and food.

The Sarawak Regatta was founded in 1872 during the Brooke era as a way to stop racial wars between the local warring tribes when headhunting was practiced, by encouraging non-violent competition to prove their strength.

Each longboat in the event is manned by 30 paddlers and the village teams will be competing for the Raja Sungai, or ‘King of the River’ title.

For more information, visit https://regatta.sarawaktourism.com/

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Sarawak International Dragon Boat Regatta

The Sarawak International Dragon Boat Regatta will take place on November 10 to 12 at the Kuching Waterfront.

The event annually brings local and international participation, and pulls tourists from far and wide and throughout the region.

The Dragon Boat Regatta is divided into categories including International Men’s Team 12s, International Men’s Team 20s, International Mix 12s, International Mix 20s, Sarawak Closed Race 20’s (Men only), Sarawak Closed Race 12’s (Men only) and the International Junior Under 23 Open 12’s.

For more information, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sarawakdragonboatregatta/

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Kuching’s Visitor Information Counter Moves

The Visitor Information Counter (VIC) in Kuching is relocating on November 1 to the Sarawak Tourism Complex, also known as the Old Court House, near the Kuching Waterfront.

The new office will be closer to the tourist haunts, making it easier for visitors to find the VIC and seek information, while also being scenically located in a heritage building.  

The Sarawak Tourism Complex’s main building was built in 1871 and used to be the seat of government for Sarawak, with the original belian (ironwood) roofs, colonial Clock Tower and Charles Brooke Memorial.

Aerial view of Sarawak Tourist Complex, or Old Court House, in front of the Kuching Waterfront.
Aerial view of Sarawak Tourist Complex, or Old Court House, in front of the Kuching Waterfront.

ITB Asia

The Board wrapped up ITB Asia campaign in Singapore on October 27 with three days full of business opportunities and trade appointments for the Sarawak team.

The Sarawak booth was represented by eight travel agents, two hotels and one venue provider, who managed to attend 336 formal appointments for the contingent combined over the course of the three-day event.

The appointments strengthened old business dealings as well as ushered in new partnerships between Sarawak agents and their Singaporean counterparts.

 ITB Asia is an extension of ITB Berlin, the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show and the primary travel trade event for the Asia Pacific region, creating connections between trade partners in Asia and Europe through business sessions and knowledge sharing.

Sarawak team at ITB Asia
Sarawak team at ITB Asia

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).