KUCHING: The remarkable growth of the floriculture industry in Malaysia over the years has stimulated ecotourism, especially in Sarawak which features an abundance of natural attractions.
“Our beautiful elegant orchids and the colourful flowers offer major attractions to both local and international tourists,” said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at the 13th Asia Pacific Orchid Conference (Apoc13) at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here yesterday.
His text of speech was read by Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
“Malaysia is home to over 3,000 species of the most beautiful and mysterious plant species, with orchids known to number more than 1,000 found and documented in Sarawak,” said Abang Johari, further stating that these flowers were indirectly promoting the country as a regional hub for orchid enthusiasts.
He stated that orchids in Malaysia were renowned for their high quality.
“Malaysian orchids are now exported mainly to Japan, Europe and Australia,” said Abang Johari, sounding his expectations for the market to expand to other continents such as the United States of America with the expected increase in production in the coming years.
The Chief Minister mentioned that focus would be given to research and development in efforts to produce new varieties of orchids.
He noted that Sarawak showcases a vast array of vegetation types and geological formations, such as natural limestone mountains like Mount Api located in Mulu National Park. The unique microclimates of these limestone formations support the growth of orchids.
“We are proud to announce that we have 29 national parks, four wildlife sanctuaries and six nature reserves,” he said, urging visitors to extend their stay to explore these attractions including Gunung Mulu National Park which is listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Abang Johari commended Sarawak for achieving the highest participation of countries in the orchid show recorded in Apoc’s history.
He believed that this event would showcase Kuching on a global scale, hence boosting ecotourism while also introducing the city as a prominent conference destination.
“It also acts as a platform to create international collaborations in orchid research and development, conservation, commercialisation and horticulture, especially in the Asia Pacific Region,” he said.
During the official launch, awards were also presented to the grand champions of the orchid landscape competition and individual orchid plants competition, namely Damrong Orchids from Thailand and Orchidwoods respectively. They each received a trophy and RM5,000.
A new breed of orchid called ‘Dendrobium Apoc13 Sarawak’ was also unveiled at the conference.
The Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud officiated at the event. Also present were his wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib, Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) mayor Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai, and acting State Secretary Datuk Jaul Samion.