Nancy (left) touring the Unimas gallery accompanied by the university’s vice chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Mohamad Kadim Suaidi (right). Photo: Ramidi Subari

KOTA SAMARAHAN: The introduction of bio-tourism will be a catalyst for economic recovery in the tourism sector, said federal Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

She described the initiative by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) towards that end as being timely and in line with the current direction of the country to tap on environmental and cultural aspects in tourism.

“Bio-tourism is a tourism activity based on flora and fauna, culture and the uniqueness of life. It is likely to be the main choice of tourists in the post Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is because tourists prefer less crowded areas as well as optimal level of hygiene. Therefore, areas that have a unique flora and fauna and a beautiful and sustainable natural environment will be their choice at the moment,” she said.

She said this during a working visit to the Unimas campus here today.

Nancy said in order to prepare for incoming tourists, tour guides and industry players need to strengthen their knowledge of nature and bio-diversity heritage.

“Therefore, the offering of professional certificate and diploma programmes in biodiversity tourism (by the university) is only appropriate and significant.

“In addition, the location of tourism and digital application development in Unimas Edutourism is very relevant and suitable for post Covid-19 tourism with minimal physical contact and less crowded locations,” she said.

On the Biodiversity Tourism programme, Unimas said it will be offered at the levels of certificate and professional diploma for six months and 12 months, respectively.

“This programme will emphasise the skills of identifying fauna and flora, along with its functions,” the varsity said in a statement.

It said with the establishment of the Real Living Lab, Unimas’ Faculty of Science and Resource Technology is able to provide a practical training platform to add knowledge to travel agents and tour guides.

“This will give them more confidence in their narrative about biodiversity to local and foreign tourists, especially BioVacationers,” Unimas said.