KUCHING: Stakeholders must capitalise on digitalisation to promote tourism and remain competitive in the global market.
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said tourism players must not be left behind as the industry moves towards an increasingly connected future, in which marketing platforms, customer personalisation and integrated technology play a central role.
“We have to plan and implement initiatives to boost the competitiveness of our tourism industry players in Sarawak, integrate them into global digital value chains and improve their ability and capability to create more business opportunities from digital tourism.
“We should be looking seriously at digital marketing strategies, online reputation and use of social media and mobile phones throughout customer experience,” Abang Johari said when opening the Digital Tourism Forum 2018 here.
Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah read his speech at the conference organised by Asean-China Entrepreneurs Association (ACEA).
The chief minister said one big advantage of digitalisation is the ability to harvest data and analytics, which will be key to attracting consumers through personalisation of services and experiences.
The increasing prevalence of mobile technologies and the amount of time spent by users to carry out research on tourism destinations must be factored in by stakeholders to adopt digital technology.
“We should also be looking into regulations to ensure a level playing field, big data ownership and access to technology,” he added.
Asean countries continue to be the top source of visitors to Sarawak, accounting for 49% or 2.4 million arrivals last year.
In 2017, Sarawak recorded 4.86 million tourist arrivals with a total spend of RM8.6bil.
He anticipated the state’s tourist arrivals to increase and had set a target of 5.25 million arrivals this year.
“Sarawak has plenty to offer with lush rainforests, diverse flora and fauna and multicultural ethnic groups, and the state is positioning itself as a culture, adventure and nature destination.
“Recently we have also embarked on sports tourism, where we have successfully bid for many international sports event,” Abang Johari, said adding they will continue to focus on health tourism too.
The opening ceremony also saw the launched of the mobile “Travel App”, developed by ACEA and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).