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Sarawak Tourism Board Celebrates Surge in 2023 UK Visitor Arrivals with Robust Presence At WTM 2023

LONDON, 7th NOVEMBER 2023 – Leveraging the global travel industry’s foremost trade event, World Travel Market (WTM) London, where tens of thousands senior industry professionals, government ministers, and international press gather every November at ExCeL – London, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) unveiled its UK campaign with National Geographic Traveller (UK) and Tripadvisor at the Sarawak Pavilion on 7th November 2023.

Announced by YB Dato Sri Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts (MTCP) during its participation at WTM London 2023, held from November 6th to November 8th, these initiatives are set to further establish Sarawak as a premier eco-tourism destination with international recognition in anticipation of Visit Malaysia Year in 2026.

In an exciting bid to increase conversion from the UK market, Sarawak revealed its campaign with National Geographic Traveller (UK) and Tripadvisor. The campaign brings forth an informative series of eight articles and six one-minute videos on National Geographic Traveller (UK)’s website which will then lead visitors to a dedicated landing page on TripAdvisor’s platform to book their preferred tourism experiences. This compelling campaign is slated to run until April 2024.

YB Dato Sri Haji Abdul Karim, said, “The UK market has played a pivotal role in Sarawak’s resurgence. From January to September 2023 alone, we welcomed 18,833 visitors from the United Kingdom. The growth rate of 216.74% in this segment is very impressive, as compared to the same period in 2022, when we hosted 5,944 UK visitors. Based on current trends, a total estimation of 25,110 visitor arrivals from UK into Sarawak is expected for 2023.”

STB’s participation at this important travel trade event is an opportunity to strengthen its destination branding and provide a platform for Sarawak’s industry partners to conduct in-person business. This year, STB is hosting up to ten Sarawak trade partners, offering a unique perspective on Sarawak’s natural beauty, diverse culture, festivals, and cuisine under the theme, “Sarawak – Now More Than Ever.”

Abdul Karim added, “Amid the presence of our esteemed local partners at WTM this year, we extend a warm invitation to everyone to explore and savour the diverse array of experiences we have curated to provide you with a true essence of Sarawak. This event serves as an ideal platform for our local partners to spotlight Sarawak’s incomparable attributes, encompassing its rich cultural diversity, thrilling adventures, pristine natural beauty, vibrant festivals, and delectable cuisine, all of which are certain to captivate your interest.”

STB’s participation also featured the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a Joint Marketing Campaign for 2024 with Malaysia Airlines Berhad. This collaboration will boost interest in Sarawak as a tourism destination for 2024 onwards. Further enhancing the Sarawak experience at the Sarawak Pavilion, cultural dancers performed ethnic dances, and traditional musical instruments such as the Sape and nose flute that resonated throughout the venue. A tree bark art demonstration further showcased Sarawak’s rich cultural heritage, art, and musical traditions.

In a separate event, Sarawak placed in the top 10 ranking for Most Desirable Region in the World category in the Wanderlust Reader Travel Awards 2023 as announced during their awards ceremony held in London on 7th November 2023. The Wanderlust Reader Travel Awards is an annual event where the travel industry’s greatest gems are put in the spotlight and the ranking for each category is voted by the readers. This award is an extension of Wanderlust travel magazine, an award-winning UK-based independent publication that boasts 100,000 readers per issue and highlights off-the-beaten-track experiences and the world’s most exciting destinations.

The UK market holds a special place in Sarawak’s tourism strategy. Visitor Arrivals (VA) from the UK have shown remarkable recovery, with a growth of marking a 216.74% increase for January – September 2023 (18,833) against the same corresponding period in 2022 (5,944). Currently, the UK region is the top 10 ranking of visitor arrivals into Sarawak (Jan-Sept 2023) and the highest ranking from all regions in Europe and Oceania market. Since 2018, the number of visitor arrivals from the UK has been the highest amongst other countries in the European market.

STB’s goals for its participation in WTM London 2023 are multi-faceted. These goals encompass creating a commanding presence through a 140 sqm double-deck Sarawak stand, with a strong focus on enhancing destination branding and fostering international recognition. STB is dedicated to facilitating a minimum of 30 appointments, with its primary emphasis on engagement with key stakeholders in the travel industry.

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