Datuk Dr Amin Khan
SIBU: About 70 government officers and tourism industry players from the central region participated in the Sarawak Tourism Masterplan Workshop.
The three-day event, which started on Tuesday, was initiated by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) and masterplan study consultant AB Consulting.
AB Consulting CEO Datuk Dr Amin Khan said the workshop aimed to boost the tourism industry in the state over the next 15 years covering four gateways – Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu, and Miri.
The workshop here would focus on the tourism industry in the central region mainly in Sibu, Kanowit, Kapit, and Mukah, he said.
“This is a big project. We had done it in Kuching and Miri and now we are in Sibu for three days. We will move to Bintulu next week. So what we do here is basically to understand what the products in the central region are; products that can attract tourists.
“Once it is clear, then we will plan how we build the accessibility and so on and how we promote these products outside Sarawak or outside central zone,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
He said the workshop would focus on eco-tourism, cultural heritage, and digital technology.
According to him, one of the biggest issues in the central region is connectivity and accessibility.
He added the masterplan study would be completed by the end of February.
“After February, we will start implementing the plan. We have the short-term, medium-term, and long-term,” he said.
Sarawak Arts Council CEO Sharkawi Amit hoped the masterplan study would help boost and improve the performing arts industry in the state.
He said over the years, there has been a decline in the popularity of performing arts in Sarawak.
“Hopefully in 15 years, we can bring people together to make performing arts a growing industry. At the end of the day, we want to boost tourism and there are so many things we should do.
“Performing arts is also contributing to the tourism activities,” he said.
He said policies to be implemented in performing arts must not prevent creativity.
“Performing arts is important to preserve the culture that people might not be able to see it anymore in the future,” he said.
State Museum Department acting director Tazudin Mohtar said the workshop is important for the department to understand the direction in terms of contribution of culture and heritage towards the development of tourism in Sarawak.
“I think this is a good opportunity for us. There are a few aspects of the study that we are looking into and one of the aspects is culture and heritage,” he said.
“Sarawak is a big state and with such diverse population and culture and religion, I think we have good products,” he said.
Tazudin said the department had submitted a museum proposal for Sibu under the 12th Malaysia Plan.
“Under our planning, the museum will be managed by us. That is in the near future. We will work closely with any associations who would like to work with us,” he said.
He said the two museums in Sibu – Sibu Cultural Heritage Museum and Lau King Howe Memorial Museum are under the management of the respective associations.
“Sibu is quite active in preserving the culture and heritage. The people are very willing to contribute their collections to build these museums. I think they have a tendency to build a very good museum,” he added.