MoU on responsible tourism inked

Abdul Karim witnessing the exchange of documents between Sharzede (right) and Dr Asleena Datuk Helmi. Also seen are deputy state secretary Datuk Dr Sabariah Putit (left) and STB chairman Dennis Ngau. Photo: Ghazali Bujang

KUCHING: Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sarawak Centre of Performance Excellence (SCOPE) which will see both organisations collaborating on conferences, workshops and research on the latest trends of responsible tourism.

STB chief executive officer (CEO) Sharzede Salleh Askor said one of the focuses was to engage with stakeholders and communities.

“The whole idea is to go into roadshows when the time is right and do more engagement so that they understand and we are at the same level of understanding what responsible tourism is all about,” she said at a press conference after the MoU exchange ceremony and Responsible Tourism Webinar organised by STB in partnership with SCOPE at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here yesterday (May 6).

Meanwhile, SCOPE CEO Dr Asleena Helmi said it was an honour to work with STB and look into how they could complement and conduct more workshops and seminars, and even discussions on finding solutions.

“That is the way forward and we are excited for this collaboration to work with all stakeholders throughout the state,” she said.

The MoU will focus mainly on sustainable development goals (SDGs) such as quality education (SDG 4), responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), and partnerships for the goals (SDG 17).

The Responsible Tourism webinar, which aimed to create a foundation for responsible tourism, saw tourism partners from the public and private sectors attending the hybrid event in strict accordance to the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah officiated at the event, which featured two international speakers – Susan Santos de Cardenas, president and CEO of the Society for Sustainable Tourism and Sara Salsini, general manager of EXO Travel Malaysia.

De Cardenas spoke on ‘SDGs on Responsible Tourism’ while Salsini spoke on ‘Responsible Tourism A Way Forward’.

Abdul Karim said the webinar was part of continued efforts to ensure Sarawak’s tourism industry remained relevant, viable and sustainable.

“We hope to create awareness among participants – comprising players in the industry – of the different elements of responsible tourism, what it entails, and how it can benefit everyone.

“We aim to identify important issues and discuss best practices for sustainable tourism to make Sarawak a better place for travellers to visit and live in,” he said when launching the webinar.

Abdul Karim said Sarawak would continue to persevere in further developing its tourism initiatives, expressing confidence that with integrated support from the government, tourism players, and partners, the state would be able to rise, heal, and reach new heights with regard to its tourism industry.

Participants of the event also took the Responsible Tourism pledge which called for tourism stakeholders to protect, preserve, and value Sarawak’s Culture, Adventure, Nature, Food, and Festivals.

“The pledge is a sign of STB’s commitment and conviction that building a mindful mindset among hosts and visitors alike will not only contribute to the wellbeing of our local communities and environment but also create meaningful exchanges for our travellers,” said Sharzede.