Youth and Sports Minister welcome to visit Sarawak to carry out programmes, says state counterpart

State Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah trying out the augmented reality feature of the new Sarawak travel app. - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KUCHING: Newly-appointed Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh is welcome to visit Sarawak at any time to carry out her ministry's programmes, says Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

The Sarawak Youth, Sport and Entrepreneur Development Minister said Yeoh was an experienced and well-accepted politician who would do well in her Cabinet post.

"I believe she will be a good Youth and Sports Minister.

"If she wants to come to Sarawak, she is most welcome," he told reporters after unveiling the Sarawak Tourism Board's new travel portal and app here on Tuesday (Dec 6).

Abdul Karim called on Federal ministers, especially those not from Sabah and Sarawak, to include both states in their activities and programmes.

"Our hope is that they will remember Malaysia has two big states in Borneo and that they will not confine their activities to the peninsula.

"When it comes to programmes, activities and visits, the Federal ministers sometimes forget about Sarawak," he said.

Karim, who is also state Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister, likewise welcomed the appointment of Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing as the Federal Tourism Minister.

"We're happy that another Sarawakian has been appointed to the post, it will be easier to talk with him," he said.

The Tourism Ministry was previously helmed by Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

Karim said he would pay a courtesy call on Tiong soon to discuss Sarawak’s tourism needs.

He said the state would like Federal funds for the upgrading of tourist facilities at visitor attractions like national parks and nature spots.

"Presently a lot of these facilities are being looked after by the local councils.

"We hope the new minister will be able to address what we're requesting," he said.

On the new travel portal and app, Karim said they would facilitate travel for visitors to Sarawak by making information and maps easily available on their phones.

The portal and app offer new content on Sarawak's scenic sites, national parks and nature reserves, food trails and heritage sites as well as an interactive game.

"Users can take virtual tours of Sarawak’s tourism destinations with detailed information and 3D models," he said.

The app also has a geofencing feature which shows users nearby attractions with background information and directions to get there.

"A robust digitalisation strategy is what we need to stay resilient.

"As we move forward in line with the Sarawak government's digital economy agenda, big data collected from our digital platforms helps us to analyse travellers’ behaviour and trends and therefore contributes to delivering better services," Karim said.

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