Group calls for more smart tie-ups to develop Bintulu as tourist attraction

Ismawi (second right) symbolically hands over the minutes of the first Persatuan Penggerak Pelancongan Bintulu meeting to his deputy Mohammad Sabri Zaidil as other committee members look on.

BINTULU: Persatuan Penggerak Pelancongan Bintulu has called for more smart collaboration with the local tourism industry players to develop Bintulu not only as an industrial town but also as a tourist attraction.

Its chairman Ismawi Ishak said the newly formed association sees the potential of Bintulu as an attractive tourist destination.

He said before the Covid-19 pandemic, the tourism industry was actually growing but saw a decline when the deadly virus spread to the whole world.

“When the curve of Covid-19 infection can be flattened with full vaccination, then many hotels and travel agencies can operate and the tourism industry will grow again,” he said.

He said they are hopeful that after all Malaysians have been vaccinated, they can return to normal life and the tourism industry will recover and reopen to everyone.

“In Bintulu, for example, when the iconic Kemena-Jepak Bridge is completed, it will be a new attraction for Bintulu.

“As a pioneer, we see the need for the Bintulu tourism industry to be revived and mobilised with the joint efforts of all parties, agencies and the private sector,” he said during a press conference after chairing the association’s committee meeting at the Fairfield by Marriott Bintulu Paragon Hotel on Saturday.

He said the association will be working closely with the Ministry of Tourism including Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and is currently drafting a Bintulu tourism plan to be in line with the government’s plan.

Ismawi said the association will support by promoting the existing tourism products in order to revive the sector.

He said there is a need for the young people to play their part and be involved in the tourism sector, for example by becoming tour guides.

“Youths aged 30 and below will be funded by Yayasan Sarawak, no need to pay to register as a tour guide,” he said, adding that the youths can study at Kolej SATT, Miri which offers tour guide course.

Apart from that, he said the association has identified international corporate events involving meetings, seminars or summits that could be held here because many big companies in the oil and gas industry and others are operating here.

“We request the government provide facilities such as the Bintulu Convention Centre to accommodate such events,” he said.

In addition, he said the association also would like to integrate local tourism with various cultural aspects, such as organising a ‘bubuk’ (krill) catching festival, and promote interesting and yet to be fully explored destinations.

“The exploration is not very aggressive but with this association we hope to open and reveal more, so that people can enjoy the beauty of nature including shopping, eating and other activities in Bintulu,” he said.

Noting that Bintulu is famous for its Borneo International Kite Festival, Ismawi said this is a good platform to promote Bintulu at the national and international levels.

He said the association will be exploring more places in Bintulu in the future to be promoted as tourist destinations.

He expressed his appreciation and gratitude to Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) general manager Muhamad Yakup Kari for being the patron of the association, Bintulu Deputy Resident Hussaini Hakim and Anaq Vaie Association president Pandi Suhaili as advisors to ensure the goal and direction of the tourism sector can be achieved.

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