More tourist guides for Sarawak

Abdul Karim (third left) with (from left) SATT College managing director Mohammad Nazri Datuk Abdillah and other officials and participants posing for a group photo at the launch of the Regional Specific Tourist Guide Course at Baitul Makmur building in Petra Jaya, Kuching. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: Sarawak will have more tourist guides after the successful completion of a course.

The Regional Specific Tourist Guide (RSTG) course is being held in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) and SATT College.

State’s Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the RSTG course would further boost tourism and enhance efficiency of the Sarawak tourism industry’s service delivery.

This is also to address the shortage of tourist guides in the state. So far, 19 tourist guides have graduated from the course. They completed the course on July 8 this year.

“After the launch of the RSTG course this afternoon, my ministry will continue to collaborate with Motac and SATT College to organise RSTG Course in Miri for January 2021 intake and in Sibu for June 2021 intake,” he explained in his speech at the official launch of the RSTG Course in Kuching at Baitul Makmur II complex here today.

“My ministry has also collaborated with Yayasan Sarawak to provide financial assistance in the form of loans to those who are interested to pursue this RSTG Course.

“This is good news in particular to fresh school or college leavers who may face difficulty in financing their training to be licensed tourists guides,” he said.

Abdul Karim added that his ministry would continue to invest on the upskilling and continuous capacity building of the tourism players, in particular digital related marketing courses, frontliners’ upskilling courses, community-based tourism, handicraft training, TriBeDigital Campus and tourism product updates.

“The enhanced knowledge, skills and attitudes will prepare our tourism industry operators and frontliners for the return of the visitors in the near future,” he added.

“To equip our tourism industry operators and frontliners for e-learning opportunities, my ministry has collaborated with Pustaka Negeri to hook on PANDei Platform for access to E-Pelancongan course,” said Abdul Karim.

He said the four online modules of E-Pelancongan in Bahasa Malaysia version were Kesedaran Pelancongan, Pelancongan Bertanggungjawab, Business Events and Program Duta Pelancongan Sarawak.

“The outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic globally coupled with the enforcement of movement restriction and border control has caused a sharp decline in travel and leisure.

“This has resulted in an unprecedented severe impact on the tourism sector players including licensed tourist guides,” he added.

According to him, tourist guides in Sarawak have contributed their part to the positive increase of 5.22 percent in tourist arrivals in 2019 through Visit Sarawak Campaign.

He further elaborated that with the new norms globally and rediscovery of domestic tourism in Sarawak, tourist guides had a new responsibility to ensure tourists follow health and safety protocols during their visit.

“We will work out with the Sarawak State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) on the necessary standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the gradual opening of the tourism industry.

“Therefore, tourist guides also play important role of gaining tourists’ trust in a safe travel in Sarawak during this Covid-19 pandemic,” added the minister.