Royals slated to grace world music fest


By SHARON

Fostering fruitful partnerships: Sharzede (second from left) and MAG chief executive officer of airlines Ahmad Luqman Mohd Azmi (second from right) showing the MOU documents, witnessed by Ting (centre). — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KUCHING: The Rainforest World Music Festival next weekend is expected to be graced by the Selangor and Perak rulers, according to a Sarawak deputy minister.

Deputy Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting said Their Royal Highnesses will likely be joined by various ambassadors to Malaysia.

“I understand that the Sultan of Selangor will be here and the Sultan of Perak is likely to be joining us as well,” he told reporters after attending an appreciation ceremony for the festival sponsors here yesterday.

The Rainforest World Music Festival will take place at the Sarawak Cultural Village here from June 28 to 30.

Among the biggest attractions this year is renowned Japanese musician Kitaro, who will perform on the opening night.

Ting said ticket sales were better than in previous years, with more than 20,000 people expected to attend over the three days.

“The sale of tickets for Friday night has surpassed other years as Kitaro will be performing.”

Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chief executive officer Sharzede Salleh Askor said a large proportion of tickets had been snapped up by international festivalgoers.

“We have visitors coming from all 10 South-East Asian countries. We also have visitors from Africa, Britain and elsewhere.

“The reach is further this year,” she said, adding that last-minute ticket sales are expected to pick up with one week to go.

Sharzede also said security would be a priority in view of the royal guests and other VIPs.

She added that upgrading works at the Sarawak Cultural Village had also been completed in time for the festival.

“There will be a VIP grandstand where we can accommodate our VVIPs comfortably,” she said.

Meanwhile, STB signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) at the appreciation ceremony for a three-year partnership on joint tourism promotion leading up to Visit Malaysia Year 2026.

“We are aiming to contribute heavily to Visit Malaysia Year 2026. The MOU will look into mega events under STB such as the Rainforest World Music Festival, Rainforest Youth Summit, trade fairs and consumer shows,” Sharzede said.

She said STB will collaborate with MAG to bring in key opinion leaders and organise familiarisation trips as part of initiatives to promote tourism to Sarawak.

“This is a win-win situation for the airlines as well as the destinations and the country as a whole,” she added.

MAG is the parent company of Malaysia Airlines, Firefly and MASwings.

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