Hii Chang Kee (centre) launches the 'Sarawak Ambassadors Programme on e-learning for e-hailing Drivers. Photo: Munirah Zhambri

By Nia Natasha Hasenan

KUCHING: Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and Grab Malaysia (Grab) launched the ‘Sarawak Ambassadors Programme on e-learning for e-hailing Drivers,’ targeting 1,000 Grab drivers, with the objective of making them Sarawak tourism ambassadors.

According to Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Sarawak was the first state in Malaysia to come up with this tourism awareness module for e-hailing drivers, together with Grab Academy.

“It is extremely timely and apt for STB to take this unique approach to collaborate with Grab Malaysia to provide tourism product modules on the Grab Academy platform.

“This programme, which is exclusively for e-hailing drivers, aims to equip them with extra knowledge on tourism and Sarawak’s offerings to enable them to become Sarawak ambassadors.”

Abdul Karim said this in his speech read by ministry permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee, who also officiated the launching ceremony at a hotel here on Monday (Oct 26).

He said drivers were usually the first contacts of tourists upon arrival and during their time exploring attractions and other destinations.

“Hence, it is extremely important that they have good knowledge of major routes, attractions and destinations.”

Abdul Karim also urged Grab drivers to take the opportunity to arm themselves with knowledge as well as to help promote and entice visitors with the state’s major attractions.

Meanwhile, STB director Sharzede Salleh Askor said the initiative with Grab Academy was part of the ministry and STB’s continuous effort to strengthen the foundation to “weather the storm”.

“In this regard, we have extended this ambassador concept among Grab drivers with the hope of enriching their knowledge of Sarawak as a tourism destination and to in turn become Sarawak ambassadors to their clients.”

She said STB would continue to place strong emphasis on enhancing visitor experience, as part of experiential tourism.

“With the launch of this programme today, we aspire to continuously enhance tourism-related services, in order to deliver an unforgettable visitor experience to all who visit our state.”

She also said it was their hope that this would in turn position Sarawak as a globally competitive and recognised tourism destination of choice.

Under the programme, Grab Malaysia will be reaching out to its database of about 4,000 to 5,000 e-hailing drivers based in Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri for participation in the e-learning training.

The modules, which are available in Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin, will cover information about Sarawak, culture and heritage as well as tourist destinations.

Grab drivers involved will have access to Grab Malaysia’s Axonify or its e-learning platform under the Grab Academy to provide this online learning.

The modules for e-learning will be facilitated by Akademi Hospitaliti & Pelancongan Saujana Sdn Bhd or SATT College to cover the southern, central and northern regions of Sarawak.