SARAwak eyeing 10 million Chinese tourist arrivals

KUCHING: Sarawak targets 10 million Chinese tourists to visit Sarawak through collaboration between the state government and Beijing Travel Group (BTG).

However, Sarawak, at its current state, will not be able to accommodate such volume of tourist arrivals.

“Therefore, the visit by BTG to Sarawak, namely Kuching, Sibu and Miri from 31 August until 7 September, will determine their areas of investment in the state’s tourism industry.

“The Chinese are interested to invest in Sarawak as they want to introduce a new destination for Chinese tourists who are looking for a different city where the lifestyle is steady and rich in cultural and nature,” said Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Amar Haji Abang Johari Tun Openg at a press conference held after a courtesy call by BTG at his office at Wisma Sultan Tengah here, yesterday.

He said the key investment area sought by BTG would be in the hospitality industry.

“We are giving them two options; either to build new hotels to accommodate more tourists coming from China or taking over existing hotels which could be worked out if the hotels are partly own by us (government-link companies).

“The infrastructure will be capitalised by them but the workforce and employment will remain with us. Apart from that, we should also facilitate their visit in Sarawak with guides who will be well-versed in Mandarin and so on,” said Johari, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister.

He pointed out that a team of techicians and professionals had been assembled by the Chinese while the state government would send in a group of individuals to liaise with them.

He revealed that a total of 10 million Chinese tourists headed for Thailand annually and this would be the benchmark once the collaboration went through.

“Sarawak’s name and image are also well known in Korea and Japan where the people there are eyeing Kuching and Miri.

“We will use this momentum to further promote our tourism industry in these countries to lure more Koreans and Japanese to come to Sarawak,” said Johari.

Meanwhile, the BTG Group comprises CSO of BTG Hotels and Resorts Group, Wang Qiang; Deputy General Manager of BTG Travel Service Group, Liu Jin; Marketing Manager of Travel Service Group, Wang Chuan; Chairman of Beijing Glory Culture Development Co. Ltd, Liu Ning; Vice President of Beijing Glory Culture Development Co. Ltd, Cai AiRen; and Project Manager of Beijing Glory Culture Development Co. Ltd, Wu Yu.

Also present during the courtesy call was the chairman of Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) Datuk Haji Abdul Wahab Aziz.

  • DATUK Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg (fourth right) presents a souvenir to Liu Ning (fourth left) as Datuk Abdul Wahab Aziz (third right) and others look on during the Beijing Travel Group (BTG) delegation’s courtesy call at Wisma Sultan Tengah, Kuching. PHOTO: RAMIDI SUBARI