KUCHING: More events and promotional activities will be held next year in conjunction with Visit Sarawak Year to attract more tourists to the state.
Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Talib Zulpilip said 4.1 million tourists had come to Sarawak so far this year.
“For next year, we will add more activities and promotions. We will have new activities such as large-scale bermukun and bergendang (traditional dancing and drumming) and festival promotions like Chap Goh Mei.
“All this is for the purpose of increasing interest and awareness about Sarawak and attracting tourists, not only from Sarawak but also from Brunei, Kalimantan, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and other countries,” he told reporters after launching a photography exhibition at Sarawak Plaza here yesterday.
Talib also said tourism-related activities like the exhibition would be supported by the authorities.
“For instance, photos from the exhibition will be uploaded on Facebook. When foreigners see how beautiful Sarawak is from the photos, they will be interested to come here,” he said, adding that cleanliness was another factor which would help to draw tourists here.
At the launch of the Visit Sarawak Year 2014 campaign last month, it was announced that 13 major tourism events would be organised in the state throughout next year.
These include the Asean Tourism Forum in January, Routes Asia (March), Sarawak Street Arts Carnival, 6th Cat City International Cat Show (both in April), Citrawarna Sarawak (June), East Asia Inter-Regional Tourism Forum (September) and Sarawak Ethnic Food Trail (October).
The state’s main target market will be domestic and regional tourists, comprising those from the peninsula and Sabah as well as Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei.
Meanwhile, Talib said in his speech earlier that tourists nowadays did not depend solely on official brochures but looked at other sources of information and photographs when deciding where to go.
“Sometimes brochures can be too glossy or even misleading. So we need pictures from all sources to portray Sarawak and hopefully these efforts will attract more tourists to come here,” he said.
The exhibition was organised by Quebah Clicks (QBC), a photography club based in Kuching, to showcase some of its members’ work.
QBC president Datuk Saleh Sulaiman said the club started as a small group of people who shared the hobby of photography.
“We were registered in October last year and this is our second event. Last year we celebrated World Photographers Day at the State Library,” he said.
Themed “By the Rivers”, the exhibition features 30 photos by 11 photographers which depict the lives of ordinary Sarawakians.
It will run until Jan 15.