Ministry planning joint tour packages between Sarawak, Brunei and Borneo Islands

MIRI: The Sarawak Tourism Ministry is keen to tailor a special tour-package with Brunei to promote the two states as one big exotic destination.

Sarawak Tourism Assistant Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin said he has spoken to his Brunei counterpart on this proposal.

“Recently I went to Brunei and held a meeting with the Brunei Tourism Ministry top brass and the Tourism Minister there. I also met with the senior managers of Royal Brunei Airlines in Bandar Seri Begawan. A plan is being discussed to have a Sarawak-Brunei tour package with Royal Brunei Airlines promoting it.

“Royal Brunei Airlines is flying from Bandar Seri Begawan to South Korea, China and Japan every week. We in Sarawak have asked the airline to resume its flight from Bandar Seri Begawan to Kuching daily. It has agreed to do so soon, so there will be a Sarawak-Brunei package for tour and flights soon,” he told The Star.

Lee said it will be ideal for Sarawak to have joint tour packages with all its neighbours on Borneo Island including Sabah and Kalimantan.

Recently, Indonesian consulate-general to Sarawak, Jahar Gultom said that at present the three Borneo states of Sarawak, Sabah and Kalimantan are having their own tour promotions and packages separately. He recently visited Miri to look into prospects for joint promotions of tours.

“At present, Kalimantan and Sarawak already have established direct air links. Kuching already have direct flights to Pontianak. Now Miri too have direct flights to Pontianak (via Indonesia Xpress Air). Sarawak have direct flights to Sabah. We can come up with a tour package that covers Kalimantan, Sarawak and Sabah. We can sell Borneo Island as one exotic package to the world,” he had said after a courtesy visit to Miri mayor Adam Yii.

Gultom said the daily flights from Pontianak to Miri is almost full.

“This is because there are a lot of Indonesians working in the plantations and industries here. We want to see tourists too from both sides visiting each other,” he said.

Gultom said an international trade fair will be held on Oct 17 in Pontianak where more than 70 countries will be taking part. He invited Yii and the Miri business associations to attend.

“This trade fair will provide opportunities to establish new businesses with companies from all over the world. There will be industrialists, manufacturers, builders, food businesses and also tour companies and airlines taking part. We hope Sarawak will send their trade people too,” he said.

Yii agreed that Kalimantan and Miri have many new untapped potentials in industries and tourism.

“Both Kalimantan and Sarawak actually have common historical roots. The Dayaks from both sides share similar cultural traditions and language. There are indeed many new potentials for social and economic collaborations that will bring mutual benefits to both sides,” he said.

Gultom presented Yii with an invitation to the trade fair and Yii gave Gultom a souvenir book that depicts the natural wonders of northern Sarawak.