KUCHING: Museums have always been the pride of Sarawak as they help to showcase the state’s unique culture and heritage.
Minister of Tourism, Art and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah expressed hopes for museums in the state to be one of the pulling factors in attracting visitors.
In saying this, he said that the state had received 4.66 million visitors in 2019 with a profit of RM11.6 million and one of the contributing factors was the heritage sector.
He said this during the 130th-anniversary celebration for the Sarawak Museum on Wednesday (Aug 4).
“Visitors would often include visiting museums in their itinerary, regardless of whether travelling domestically or internationally.
“I am very passionate about museums and I can still vividly recall visiting this iconic Sarawak Museum back in my younger days.
“I hope our museums will have a pulling effect or Bilbao effect similar to what happened in Bilbao city, Spain with the establishment of Guggenheim Museum. The museum not only helps to generate the city’s economy but also for the community living within its proximity,” he explained.
Abdul Karim noted that Sarawak is fortunate to have a very supportive government as allocations have been provided for restoration works according to international standards.
Moreover, there are various old and historic buildings throughout the state which are in the progress of conversion to become museums.
“Museum tourism is an industry that is rapidly developing and it contributes to the country’s socioeconomic growth. Sarawak is not only known for its multiethnicity and multiculturalism, but it also has many historical buildings and monuments.
“The Sarawak Museum was built during the reign of Rajah Charles Brooke in 1891 and the development of this museum under the Sarawak Museum Campus will be a catalyst for Kuching city’s progress,” he added.
He urged all at the Sarawak Museum Department to continue with their hard work in ensuring that the state’s museums and heritage will always be preserved.
“We are not marketing Sarawak as a shopping destination, but for culture and heritage,” he added.
Also present were Assistant Minister of Tourism, Art and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Tourism, Art and Culture Hii Chang Kee, the Sarawak Museum Department Director Tazudin Mohtar and other dignitaries.