Sarawak tourism awards back after five years

KUCHING: The Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards will be back this year after a five-year hiatus during the Covid-19 pandemic to signify the resilience of the state's tourism sector.

State Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the ninth edition of the awards would honour outstanding achievements and contributions by industry players and stakeholders from 2019 to last year.

"Recognising the resilience shown by industry stakeholders amid unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic, this event is... to express gratitude for recovery efforts and highlight exceptional industry revival," he said when launching the event after the Sarawak tourism steering committee meeting here on Monday (March 11).

Inaugurated in 2003, the awards were last held in 2019 before the pandemic hit.

Abdul Karim said this year's awards, organised in partnership with the Sarawak Tourism Federation, were themed "Winds of Resilience" to showcase the industry's ability to bounce back from the pandemic.

He said there would be eight main categories with 30 sub-categories, including new ones like spa and wellness, education and medical tourism and Sarawak-Malaysia My Second Home.

"It will also feature the best community-based tourism initiative and a special award for sustainability," he said.

The awards ceremony will be held on Sept 27 with Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg as the guest of honour.

Nominations will open on March 25 until April 30.

Abdul Karim also launched the Sarawak Tourism Quick Facts book and the 2024 calendar of tourism events.

The calendar lists 88 major events in Sarawak, including the renowned Rainforest World Music Festival, Sarawak International Dragon Boat Regatta, Kuching Marathon and Borneo Jazz Festival.

Abdul Karim later told reporters that locals and visitors could look forward to more events this year as not all of them could make it for inclusion in the calendar.

"Each year we approve more than 200 events. Some are still in the pipeline, including sports, food and culture events.

"We will announce them in due time," he said.

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