15-year tourism master plan to help industry recover

Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

KUCHING: The 15-year Third Sarawak Tourism Master Plan will assist the state’s tourism industry in recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said his ministry would work together with the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) to chart the way forward for the industry.

“The Third Sarawak Tourism Master Plan from 2020 to 2035 is timely as we try very hard to recover from the impact of Covid-19 and  bring new business models and strategies for both the demand and supply side of the tourism industry.”

He was speaking at the official launch of the Regional Specific Tourist Guides (RSTG) course at the Baitul Makmur II complex here today.

He added that the master plan was to identify and develop strategic directions and an action plan for the tourism sector to spur both immediate and long-term growth.

“We hope through this master plan, we can encourage innovation and allow existing tourism operators as well as potential investors to identify business ventures, in particular, public and private partnership in a win-win situation.

“We will make sure that the tourism development will generate income and employment, which benefit not only the corporate sector but also the people by involving them in community-based tourism, arts and culture industry and increasing household incomes.”

“Therefore, this 15-year strategic master plan is to be prepared by experts and industry players in both the public and private sectors to make its implementation a success.”

Abdul Karim elaborated that the master plan would be guided by Sarawak’s tourism aspiration and would make the state a leading destination for eco-tourism and business events in the Asean region by 2030.

He further added that the aspiration would be translated into three major outcomes in terms of economic, social and environmental.

“The Covid-19 outbreak has caused some concerns, especially for our “Sarawak More To Discover” campaign with a new tagline “Rediscover Yourself in Sarawak” which is aimed to reach out to the domestic market.

“Thus, my ministry has responded to the situation by reviewing our marketing strategies, including turning our promotional and marketing initiatives to domestic tourism by launching Sia-Sitok Sarawak tour packages and encourage locals to choose Sarawak as a holiday destination.”

Abdul Karim said the campaign was a part of Sarawak Tourism’s stimulus measures to boost local tourism industry to sustain and maintain the tourism eco-system for industry players.

“Today, the campaign has generated more than RM300,000 in sales.”

According to him, his ministry was also trying to help local communities participate in community-based tourism such as homestay, local hosts, craft and souvenirs to reap benefits from tourism, especially in raising their household income.

“By increasing the number of homestay clusters to 60 by 2030, my ministry expect to increase the current average annual household income of RM8,401 to RM13,700 per homestay operator with an annual growth of five per cent.

“With the continuous capacity building for local handicraft, it is anticipated to increase current sales of local handicrafts of RM32mil to RM65mil in sales by 2030.”