National parks are a hit with tourists in Sarawak, says tourism minister

Sulok Tawie

Visitors at the Bako National Park in Sarawak. — Foto Bernama

KUCHING, Nov 11 — The Sarawak national parks have proven to be a hit with foreign and domestic tourists in Sarawak, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said today.

He said out of 369,630 visitor arrivals in the national parks as of September this year, 110,634 of them are foreigners and another 258,996 are domestic visitors.

“Bako National Park, Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, Matang Wildlife Centre, Niah National Park and Santubong National Park have recorded the highest number of visitors as a result of their diverse biodiversity, beautiful and unique landscape, favourable facilities, accessibility and other factors,” he said.

Winding the debate in the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly, he said the ministry is currently upgrading WIFI facilities in these most visited national parks for better visitors’ experience.

He noted that Semenggoh Wildlife Centre is the first wildlife centre to have won the award of the Malaysian Tourism Council Gold Award as the Best Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Malaysia on October 25.

He added the award is a recognition for its excellence in the areas of wildlife conservation and rehabilitation.

On the Visit Sarawak Campaign, he said it will give weight to destination branding through stronger call-for-action messages with celebrities, key opinion leaders and influencers to excite the campaign.

“Digital promotion will still be the way forward leveraging more on social media platforms, maintaining participation in international tourism fairs and road shows, and developing effective familiarisation trips,” he said.

The minister said the destination branding exercise in 2020 will focus on the major markets of the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia.

“These markets will leverage more on media and PR exercise with stronger brand appeal through digital, broadcasting and printed advertisements,” he said, adding that appointment of PR agencies will be the strategic way forward in ensuring that the destination is seen and heard.

Karim said at the beginning of this year the Sarawak Tourism Board has participated in MATKA Scandinavian, Northern Europe premier trade fair for its outbound market.

He said the board has been putting emphasis on this market considering the product acceptability among the Scandinavians and also they have a longer average length of stay of 7 to 10 days and have bigger spending power.

“The board will also venture into India market with a focus on the southern cities as they have more flight accessibility into Malaysia.

“This market has shown a continuous steady increase in arrivals over the years. The board will be looking into the possibilities of partnerships with local Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia tour operators specialising in India market,” Karim said.

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