BY NEVILLE TIMOTHY SANDERS
A FIVE-PRONGED strategy will be implemented by the Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts to revive the tourism, creative and performing arts industry post Covid-19.
Its Deputy Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting said the first plan involved short term programmes such as “Kempen Sia Sitok Sarawak”, “Kempen Sia Sitok Sarawak Accommodation”, Visitor Incentive Packages (VIPs) and Kempen Sia Sitok Sarawak Plus, and promoting Sarawak as a favourite destination at the MATTA Fair and World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
“Next, would be the funding and research grant alongside the Heritage, Arts and Cultural Facilitation Fund for the year 2022.
“With the recent reopening of the international border on April 1, 20 events have received approval to attract tourists such as Sibu International Dance Festival, Spartan Race, Rainforest World Music Festival, Borneo Jazz Festival, Sarawak International Dragon Boat Race, Sarawak Regatta, Kuching and Miri Marathon,” he said.
He said this in reply to a question by Miro Simuh (GPS-Serembu) on what is the post COVID-19 recovery plan to be implemented by the government in driving the tourism industry during the question-and-answer session in the state legislative assembly on Wednesday (May 18).
Ting also said that efforts to enhance the skills and capacity building would continue for tourism industry players through the Sarawak Tourism Online Ecosystem Funding, Regional Specific Tourist Guide Course (RSTG), National Park Product Specific and Post Covid-19 Enhancement, TribeDigital Campus for Legacy Impact Trainer Certification, Association/Corporate Policies, Homegrown Event Masterclass and Lotus Voyager Group (LVG) e-Learning and Networking Platformme.
“The third plan would be putting Sarawak as a ‘responsible tourism destination’ through initiatives that have been implemented by Sarawak Tourism Board under the Responsible Tourism programme,” he added.
The fifth plan will entail collaboration between the Ministry and Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) and Ministry of Transport Sarawak.
“This purpose is to increase the frequency of flights to Sarawak,” he said.
On the long term plan, he said the ministry will establish an action and strategic plan under the Sarawak Post Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030 (PCDS 2030) and third Sarawak Tourism Master Plan 2021-2035 (STMP).
To a question of types of aid given by the government to industry players in order to sustain themselves during the pandemic, he said eight types of aid packages were made available under the Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS).
“In January 2022, the government announced tons of initiatives under eight BKSS and its allocation is RM250.47 million.
“Apart from aid from the state government, the federal government through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) has also introduced a series of funding grant in 2022 consisting of Tourism Border Sector Grant (GSSP), Cultural Border Sector Grant (GSSK) and Role Grant for the Purposes of Preservation of Homestay alongside the Role Grant For the Purposes of Preservation of Budget Hotel for the tourism industry,” he added.
Ting also told the House that the “Sia Sitok” campaign was well received and had generated around RM6 million.
“The ministry also collaborated with the hotel industry through Malaysia Hotel Association (MHA) and Malaysia Budget Hotel Association (MYBHA) to organise the ‘Sia Sitok’ Campaign with hotel accommodation discounts of around 50 per cent.
“As much as RM3.6 million in sales has been recorded with 16,655 bookings in 47 hotels all around Sarawak,” said Ting.