Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) has had a fruitful participation at EXPO 2020 Dubai, with encouraging responses to the State’s tourism offerings especially in the area of “adventure” from the Middle East market. Promotional activities held at the Malaysia Pavilion, including marketing booths, B2B meetings and interactive engagement through the Beauty of Sarawak talk show hosted by BorneoTalk’s Ashley Pan helped to garner interest from potential buyers in the GCC market towards Sarawak. The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) includes member nations of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman.
“Throughout our participation here since Dec 26, 2021, especially during the B2B session with the travel and tourism players from the GCC, we have gotten a lot of interesting and exciting requests for Sarawak to be included their packages. From our conversations and meetings with these potential buyers, they’ve expressed great interest in Sarawak’s offering of ADVENTURE,” STB’s Marketing Director, Mary Wan Mering commented.
ADVENTURE is one of the key aspects in Sarawak’s CANFF (Culture, Adventure, Nature, Food and Festival) tourism offering.
Mary went on to say that while everyone had a different idea of what their ideal vacation was as far as adventure was concerned, over 60% of them showed keenness for Sarawak’s lush rainforests and its abundance of national parks such as the UNESCO-certified Gunung Mulu National Park, home to the world’s largest cave chamber and the magnificent Mulu Pinnacles.
“I’m happy to have been able to meet with our potential agents here. I think Sarawak can be a single destination in Malaysia for the travel agents in the GCC to promote, or even a twinning destination with Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Sabah,” she continued.
Mary said that most of the travel agents who came during the B2B session already knew about Malaysia especially Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Langkawi. Thus, she is firmly on the belief that it would not be that difficult to really push Sarawak to the GCC market.
“From here on, it will be constant activities and communication programmes to create awareness about Sarawak in the tourism sector of the Middle East,” she enthused, adding that expatriates in the GCC were the ones who would look forward to going for vacations in Southeast Asia, especially after the long holiday months after Eid.
STB’s participation at WEEK 13 (ECOTOURISM WEEK) of EXPO 2020 Dubai from Dec 26, 2021 to Jan 1, 2022 in Dubai, UAE was aimed at penetrating the Middle Eastern market, tapping the large population of expatriates living in the UAE who are mostly from Europe, America, and other Asian countries.
The main event was the Beauty of Sarawak talk show hosted by BorneoTalk’s Ashley Pan, and featuring STB’s Mary Wan Mering during Sarawak’s State Tourism Campaign Day on Dec 30, 2021 at the Amphitheatre, Malaysia Pavilion.
The celebration of all things Sarawak continues at the Malaysia Day ceremony, happening on Jan 9, 2022 at the EXPO. Miss Universe Malaysia, Sarawak’s very own Francisca Luhong James is expected to make an appearance at the ceremony, where she will be parading at the country’s parade, the official dinner, and the ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’ concert.
Meanwhile, an envoy from the Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Sarawak, led by its Minister Dato Sri Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah will be attending EXPO 2020 Dubai from Jan 6 to 10, 2022. This will further strengthen Sarawak’s presence among Malaysia’s participation at the EXPO.