Big players from Beijing eye tourism partnership

Wong, Tiong and Hii (fifth to third right) join Chew (second right) and other delegates from Beijing for a photo-call at SMC.

SIBU: Major players from Beijing, China are looking into the possibility of joint tourism development with local partners.

According to Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, several options up for exploration include a seaside resort at Tanjung Manis, a jungle resort and Pulau Kerto.

“I think they are looking at several options namely Pulau Kerto, the seaside resort at Tanjung Manis and the jungle resort suggested by SMC (Sibu Municipal Council) chairman Datuk Tiong Thai King.

“They are also looking for those in the private sector in Sibu to become local partners to work with. We will explore this possibility and will be talking to them in greater details later on,” he told reporters after attending a briefing by Beijing Glory International Culture Development Co Ltd (BGI) vice-president Chew Koh Choan at SMC here yesterday.

In his presentation, Chew highlighted Sarawak tourism project on behalf of BGI, Beijing Tourism Group (BTG)-JianGuo Hotels and Resorts, and also China Comfort Travel Group Co Ltd.

Additionally, Sibu Resident Hii Chang Kee delivered a briefing on this town, focusing on its introduction to the visitors and highlighting Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

Asked whether the option to be explored for Pulau Kerto would be that related to a theme park, Wong was uncertain about it.

“I don’t know what they would like to do. These are very big groups. They will have brilliant ideas, anyway,” he added, recalling there was a plan to develop Pulau Kerto previously.

The minister hoped that through these groups, this town would receive more tourists from China.

“This town has much to offer,” he said, adding that the Chinese delegation visited a longhouse downriver yesterday afternoon to experience the local culture and tradition.

There, the visitors were introduced to ‘miring’ (blessing ritual), a traditional dance, blowpipe demonstration and other activities to welcome them.

Wong observed that the experience was something new for the delegates – one that they were definitely looking forward to.

“If possible, they wanted to bring in the first group (of Chinese tourists) in October.”

Earlier, Chew said his side planned to form a consortium between BGI and BTG to jointly develop tourism resources and opportunities in Sarawak.

He added that they wanted to bring Chinese tourists to Sarawak and at the same time, bring tourism programmes from Sarawak to Beijing.

“Also, (we wish) to invest on tourism-related projects in Sarawak, apart from conducting cultural exchanges between Beijing and Sarawak,” he said.

On this, Chew hoped that the state government would support his side on related policies and basic tourism facilities.

He said among other things, they were looking for good local partners in developing the whole project.

Moreover, he said they were considering on making use of China Comfort Travel Group’s large client base to ‘do something in Sarawak’.

Apart from Chew, other members of the Chinese delegation are BGI chairman Liu Ning, vice-president Cai Ai Ren, project manager Wu You, BTG-JianGuo Hotels and Resorts representative Wang Qiang, China Comfort Travel Group brand section marketing promotion manager Wang Chuan and Cassey Enterprise Pte Ltd director TA Yap.

Sibu was their second stop after Kuching on Friday. They are heading to Miri today to complete their working tour across the state’s three regions – southern, central and northern.