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Monday September 2, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday September 2, 2013 MYT 12:45:37 PM
by nigel edgar
Boosting tourism: Johari (second from left) looking at the official banner after officiating at the Malaysia Craft Promotion 2013 at Kuching Waterfront.
KUCHING: A hinterland tourism study is being carried out to transform places affected by the hydroelectric dams across Sarawak into attractive tourism destinations.
Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said his ministry was undertaking the study with the help of international experts and consultants, and was looking at possibilities to set up a resort around the Bakun area.
He said other areas also included in the study were Murum and Baram.
“This (study) should have been done before the Batang Ai dam last time — we overlooked it. When I went to Bakun, I visited the islands there and saw many tourism potential.
“We must have a thorough study to identify the attractions available on the islands as well as in areas affected by the dams,” he said during a press conference after officiating at the Malaysia Craft Promotion 2013 at Kuching Waterfront here yesterday.
Unable to disclose when the study would be completed or the plan implemented, Johari did mention that it would involve zoning the locations into environmentally friendly resort, biodiversity and recreational areas.
Apart from that, his ministry would encourage river transportation activities as part of the effort to boost Sarawak tourism.
“This was one of our Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s dreams that he told us during a PBB function last night (Saturday), which was for the whole Kuching area to be transformed by year 2020 and for our state’s tourism attractions to be developed.
“We (Sarawak) are unique because we have many rivers, diverse culture and multi-racial communities which are becoming the basis to promote ourselves. I am confident that these can be done.”
On a related update, Johari said he was still in talks with MASwings chief executive officer Datuk Capt Mohd Nawawi Awang on proposed amphibious aircraft to travel across rural areas near rivers and dams in Sarawak.
He said since MASwings would be having a new fleet, its old Twin Otter airplanes could be converted into amphibious aircraft.
“It would take about US$500,000 (about RM1.6mil) to convert these Twin Otters into amphibious planes and also to train pilots to fly them.
“This is still being studied and while I cannot promise anything, it would be known within a year or two as there are many technical aspects to be looked at,” he said.
Tags / Keywords:
East Malaysia, interland, Johari, tourism, Kuching, Sarawak
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