KUCHING: The Federal Government has promised Sarawak bigger allocations under the Eighth Malaysia Plan mid-term review to fund its tourism infrastructure development.
Without indicating the amount, Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said the money would help the state to upgrade its tourism facilities – especially Miri and Kuching – to international standards.
He was speaking at Saturday's launch here of the Sarawak Tourism Board’s (STB) city tram, which ferries tourists to the various spots along the city’s tourism belt.
Miri, the gateway to northern Sarawak, has several major tourism assets including the world heritage site – the Mulu Caves – and the famous Niah Caves.
Sarawak Tourism Minister Datuk Abang Johari Tun Openg said last week the state expected to receive about RM100mil under the mid-term review.
Kadir said with its exotic and colourful culture, Sarawak could become a world-class tourist destination.
He added that its images were a major selling point for the country’s tourism campaigns overseas.
The state has 27 ethnic groups, each with their own cultural heritage.
On the state’s plan to develop the Bario plateau in northern Sarawak into a highland garden for nature-loving tourists, Kadir said efforts must be made to ensure its natural beauty was maintained.
“We should not make the mistake of over-developing Bario as indiscriminate development has robbed the natural beauty of other parts of Malaysia with features similar to Bario's,” he added.
Under the plan, Bario will be turned into a garden of temperate flowers.
Tourists will arrive in horse-drawn carriages instead of motorised vehicles.