SINGAPORE: Sarawak Week in Singapore, a state tourism board event, has come to an end after 10 days of promoting, among others, Sarawak Laksa, Sarawak layered cake and Mulu National Park.
The promo was held at Plaza Singapura, along the island republic’s popular shopping destination Orchard Road. Among state dignitaries present was Tourism Ministry permanent secretary Datuk Ik Pahon Joyik, who represented Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.
According to a press release from the board, among the most popular activities was food sampling, as well as an exhibit on native tattoos.
“The Sarawak Laksa booth kept drawing in curious visitors while the information counter kept them back. We were so busy entertaining enquiries from would-be travellers to Sarawak,” said Pauline Lim, assistant marketing manager.
“The tattoo counter drew lots of interests from young people, while the Sarawak beads and puakumbu exhibitor was quite popular among the older generation.”
The Sarawak Week promo closed with a traditional Sarawak dance.
It was part of a larger month-long campaign called “Let’s play-play in Sarawak ... Where adventure lives”, which includes bus wrap advertisements, a food documentary with Media Corp and social media product updates.
Johari, who is also the tourism minister said Sarawak must work harder to draw from tourists from Singapore.
“The feedback we get is, that most Singaporeans, are not very familiar with Sarawak. We want to tap this market. Singaporeans are important to us. Their expatriates are important. And Singapore is a hub. We want to work closely with Singapore Airlines and Silk Air as our partners,” Johari told a press conference.
Johari said the aim was for a 5% increase of Singaporean visitors after the campaign. In 2014, Sarawak received 49,059 Singaporeans.
Overall, visitor arrivals to the state slumped last year, recording a 7% drop from 2014.
Johari said the state had hoped for five million arrivals in 2015, however, only 4.51 million visitors were recorded. In 2014, there were 4.85 million foreign arrivals.
The prolonged haze, repercussions from the twin Malaysia Airlines disasters, and global economic slowdown were blamed for the drop.
Poor air connectivity continued to “handicap” Sarawak’s tourism growth, Johari said.
Looking ahead, the state would concentrate on attracting more tourists from China and Singapore.