MIRI: There are super-rich people from Far East countries who will fly to Sarawak just to enjoy our local food.
That is a testimony that Sarawak has world-class products that can attract international tourists with unlimted money to spend, said Sarawak Assistant Minister for Tourism Datuk Lee Kim Shin.
Speaking at the launch of Tourism Malaysia workshop on Sarawak homestay tourism facilities at the Borneo Tropical Rainforest Resort in Lambir district yesterday, he said Sarawak had unique products and food found nowhere else in the region.
Apart from having the largest cave system in the world at the Mulu National Park World Heritage Site, Sarawak also boasts the finest quality freshwater fish and the best quality bird’s nests.
Lee, who is also the state’s Land and Air Transport Assistant Minister, said there were foreign tourists with enormous spending power who are attracted to this state, simply to enjoy the uniqueness of Sarawak.
“There are very rich people from Far East countries, such as from Hong Kong, who are willing to spend a hefty sum of money in order to enjoy something special.
“I know of these Hong Kong super-rich who charter private jets to fly to Sarawak just to eat the freshwater empurau fish.
“They fly in after making prior arrangements with certain restaurants for the best empurau.
“They willingly pay a hefty sum for the fish and after their dinner, they fly back home again.
“And they do this regularly because they can afford it.
“Apart from the exotic empurau fish, we in Sarawak also have the highest quality of birds nests.
“We also have various unique local native delicacies such as the bamboo chicken and bamboo fish.
“These are unique products that can attract the super-rich tourists who have the spending power and who enjoy a life of luxury.
“For tourism players in Sarawak, they must take into account these facts and offer these attractions in their packages.
“For homestay operators, these local food products are potential income-earners for them.
“Find the best recipe to come up with the most delicious food.
“Even the humble jungle fern midin and paku are much sought-after by visitors from foreign countries as well as from peninsular Malaysia,” he said.
Lee said Sarawak was the best provider of tourism products as far as nature, cultural, adventure and food were concerned.
“It is only the marketing part that must be drastically improved so that tourists will know about these food and where to get them. They must be provided with other information, such as accommodation and transport.
“The good thing about Sarawak food is that, it is organic and fresh.
“Our empurau fish are sourced from the wild and so are our food products.
Lee said last year, 4.51 million tourists visited Sarawak and of this number, a sizeable portion stayed at homestay facilities.
He called for greater coordination in terms of promotion and marketing among Tourism Malaysia, Sarawak Tourism Board and local tourism players.