KUCHING: The Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture (Motac) and the Sarawak Trade & Tourism Office Sarawak (Statos) are engineering the mechanisms of an early strategic partnership to get a jump start on reviving future Singaporean tourist arrivals to Sarawak, with full reactivation to begin once the Covid-19 pandemic is over.
Motac and Statos will explore ways to tap the lucrative Singaporean market, with further tinkering and branding efforts on niche tourism areas in Sarawak that may spark special interest for Singaporeans.
“Alignment of our complementary resources and intelligence means that the Ministry and Statos can look forward to a healthy strategic collaboration that will shape and accelerate future tourism outcomes from Singapore,” said Minister of Motac, Datuk Sri Nancy Shukri today.
“Via development of lucrative ‘niche tourism’ areas – such as trade linked tourism and food tourism – Sarawak stands to buoy its tourism economy and develop new sources of employment by the end of the pandemic. Such areas are certainly promising to develop with the Singaporean market in mind,” she added.
“The harsh reality of the global economic climate and impact of COVID19 on travel, has compelled the formation of more inter-agency partnerships as part of national re-strategisation exercises,” she pointed out, adding that Sarawak tourism had an advantage in this regard with its home-grown, Singapore-based entity Statos.
Established in 2019, Statos serves as the premier communication hub between business communities in Sarawak and Singapore in order to expand trade, investment and tourism.
Putrie Rozana Soraya, Statos deputy chief executive officer said that Singaporean travellers to Sarawak had grown year-on-year, clocking in at a 7 per cent increase in 2019 and presenting strong grounds to form a structured partnership with Motac.
“Based on the favourable growth numbers up until 2019, Singapore is an excellent market for Sarawak to tap not only for tourism, but also trade and investment. Until the pandemic abates, Statos will continue to educate Singaporeans on the diversified tourism offerings available in Sarawak in anticipation of an eventual recovery,” said Putrie.
“Ultimately, we would expect this cross-border, inter-agency partnership between Motac and Statos to give Sarawak an advantageous point of re-entry to the tourism game, once travel conditions are more favourable,” she added.
Also present at the meeting between Motac and Statos were Motac officers Mohd Zamri Mat Zain, Deputy Secretary-General of Tourism and Yong Ee Chin, Deputy Undersecretary Tourism Policy and International Affairs, alongside Statos chief executive officer, Chew Chang Guan.
In the last decade, the tourism industry has ranked among the largest contributors to Sarawak coffers, with an input of some 9 percent to Sarawak’s 2019 Gross Domestic Product, or RM11.57 billion in tourism receipts from 4.66 million visitors.
In September, Motac announced it would allocate RM48.252 million for 18 new tourism and cultural infrastructure development projects in Sarawak.[Source: “Motac, Statos forge tourism partnership” published by Borneo Post Online]