Ask hotelier Allen Robinson what he thinks of the unique blend of multi-culturalism and diverse natural attractions found in northern Sarawak and he will tell you it is “one heck of a combination”.
As has been the case with many foreign visitors, Robinson was bowled over by the myriad racial groups and varied geography when he first set foot in Sarawak eight months ago.
“I have worked in many countries before coming to Sarawak and must admit I've never come across such a fascinating mix before.
“You won’t find this in any other place on earth,” said the Royal Mulu Resort general manager, who is from Australia.
In fact, he feels that this combination makes Miri a great place for the study of anthropology and inter-racial relations.
“These are your treasures, but you must share them with the rest of the world,” he said while in Miri recently for a meeting with state Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Development and Communications Lee Kim Shin..
Robinson said there is a lot of untapped tourism potential in Mulu and Miri, not only in terms of exciting tourist spots, but also food and shopping.
Describing Mulu – which is 250km or a half-hour flight away – as the “crown jewel” in Sarawak's tourism sector, he noted that the resort has many plans to promote it.
Miri and Mulu are like “Siamese twins whose development and growth are intertwined”, he said.
“Previously, there were too many price wars and undercutting among tour agencies in their fight to lure tourists to Mulu.
“But now this unhealthy competition has been resolved, and I see tremendous prospects for more joint ventures to make the most of the tourism assets that we have,” he said.
For instance, he said, the shopping centres in Miri offer a fascinating choice of varied goods.
“My wife cannot resist shopping every time we fly here for functions and meetings,” he added.
And the attainment of city status, he believes, will give Miri a more vibrant image and help to usher in a new era of growth.
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