ITB Berlin News 2021 - Day 2 Edition

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DAY 2

WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021

ITB BERLIN NOW 2021

AN EXTRAORDINARY

SHOW FOR

EXTRAORDINARY

TIMES

STANDING FIRMLY SIDE-BY-SIDE WITH

THE GLOBAL TRAVEL COMMUNITY

THROUGH ALL CHALLENGES

NEWS

#06

OPENING PRESS

CONFERENCE

REGION

#18

ASIA

SPECIAL FEATURE

NATURE

TOURISM

#24

#12

EXCLUSIVE

INTERVIEW

SANDIAGA S. UNO

Minister of Tourism and

Creative Economy, Republic

of Indonesia

Start Planning Your Magical Journey

to Wondрful Indonesia

Mandalika Beach, West Nusa Tenggara


FEATURED EXHIBITORS

VISIT THE ITB BERLIN NOW

SHOW FLOOR:

Click on the logo

to go to the Brand

Cards


I NEWS I

EDITORIAL

Richard Barnes

Editor-in-Chief,

ITB Berlin News

The best way to weather

the perfect storm

In the midst of a perfect industry storm,

ITB Berlin NOW this year has become a

guiding light. Proof of the fact that industry

players actively need such guidance and

assistance is evidenced quite simply by

the number of participants – over 3,500

exhibitors.

The show got off to an illustrious start

yesterday, and there is no denying the

success of this “virtual” edition, which,

by necessity, remains “THE place to

meet”. The focus of ITB Berlin NOW

is clear. The key elements are business,

networking, content and news.

One can think of it as a platform where ALL

industry players can actively participate

in the discussion, listen and speak up,

ask and learn, influence and reflect, in a

“tailored” way.

ITB Berlin NOW again have strong partners

at their side. For example, Saxony is the

Official Culture Destination. At ITB Berlin

NOW, the German federal state is promoting

itself as an outstanding destination for

culture and city tourism as well as offering

a unique nature experiences and adventure

holidays.

And the country of Georgia has this year

been secured as Digital Adventure and

Sustainability Partner – another debut

to celebrate at this event. Georgia has

entered into a 3-year partnership with the

organisation. They will be ITB’s Official

Cultural Destination in 2022 and the Official

Host Country in 2023.

Just more proof of the power of the ITB

network as catalyst for getting business

done - come rain or sunshine

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CONTENTS

#04 DAILY BRIEFING

#05 NEWS

#10 CONVENTION

#11 TRADE TALK

#12 EXCLUSIVE

INTERVIEWS

#18 REGIONAL SPOTLIGHT

ASIA

#23 GERMAN REGIONS

BAVARIA

SPECIAL FEATURES

#24 NATURE TOURISM

#25 GASTRONOMY & WINE TOURISM

#28 CRUISES

#30 LUXURY ACCOMODATION

& TRAVEL

32 GOLF TOURISM

ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021 3


I NEWS I

Daily

Briefing

By David Ruetz,

Head of ITB Berlin NOW

Welcome to day two of the show ...

and what is an absolutely exceptional

ITB Berlin NOW Convention.

Today, the ITB Berlin Marketing and

Distribution track awaits you. Topics

will include digitalisation, sales and

developments in the luxury market.

Among the guests will be high-profile

representatives from Booking.com and

Amazon Web Services. In an exclusive global

customer survey, ITB Berlin and Travelzoo

examined customer confidence trends

during these uncertain

times of Covid-19. Christian

Smart of Travelzoo will be

discussing the findings in

his keynote this morning.

DON’T FORGET

THAT AFTER

THE SESSIONS,

YOU CAN

ACTIVELY JOIN

IN DISCUSSIONS

IN THE VARIOUS

ITB BERLIN NOW

CAFÉS.

At 10:15 this morning,

we’ll be seeing the ITB

Keynote Interview: “From

Mass to Meaningful Travel:

Airbnb shares insights

on Travel Trends and the

Role of Hosting when

travel recovers”. Here, the

co-founder of Airnbnb,

Nathan Blecharzyk, will

be discussing how the

pandemic has changed

travel behaviour, how Airbnb has responded

to the impact of the pandemic, and the

future role of the sharing economy in the

travel rebound.

topic of the Future of Medical Tourism – at

1:35pm – on stage 2. Medical tourism will

also be the topic of a keynote – at 3:25pm,

by Dr Anna Bialk-Wolf, of the Institute of

Research of Medical Tourism, followed by

the ITB Medical Tourism Award at 3:40pm.

Philip C. Wolf, founder of Phocuswright, will

be hosting several very important sessions,

including the CEO interview: “The Future

of Global and European Travel Distribution”,

with Booking CEO, Glen Fogel; or “The

Future of Asian Travel Distribution”, with

Deep Kalra, CEO at

MakeMyTrip.

At 6pm, Stefan Leser,

CEO at Langham

Hospitality Group and

Frank Trampert, SVP &

Global MD - Commercial

at Sabre Hospitality, will be

addressing a topic that is

front of mind with anyone

working in or around the

hospitality industry: “The

Evolution of the Guest

Experience – Creating

Opportunities beyond the

Room and beyond the

Crisis”.

Don’t forget that after the sessions, you can

actively join in discussions in the various

ITB Berlin NOW cafés.

Luxury travel is a sector that has not only

weathered the storm better than others,

but also has big growth potential, and at

1:25pm, on stage 1, our ITB Panel Discussion,

hosted by Marc Aeberhard, will address,

“What will the (Luxury) Hotel Industry

look like in a post Covid Future?” There

will also be a very timely roundtable on the

See you there!

4 ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I NEWS I

2020/21 TO DO awards

announced

Equality and social responsibility under the spotlight

at ITB Berlin NOW

The winners of this year’s (and last year’s) editions of the

TO DO Awards have been announced at ITB Berlin NOW.

@Rutas Ancestrales Araucarias - Instagram

The project “Rutas

Ancestrales

Araucarias” enables

members of the

indigenous Mapuche

nation to tell their own

story

“EQUALITY IN TOURISM”:

INITIATING POSITIVE CHANGE

“RUTAS ANCESTRALES ARAUCARIAS”

FROM CHILE WINS TO DO AWARD 2021

SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE TOURISM

The project “Rutas

Ancestrales Araucarias”

enables members of the

indigenous Mapuche nation

to tell their own story and

to decide for themselves

at any time how to present

themselves, their ways of life,

their traditions, and values to

their visitors.

The Mapuche nation, who

mainly live in the central and

southern part of Chile, had

to fight for centuries for the

recognition of their rights and

are still severely repressed by

the state. Their ancestral land,

for instance, has over the

past centuries been reduced

by military intervention from

ten million hectares to a mere

500,000 hectares. With this

project, the Mapuche (Eng:

“people of the earth”) are

now consistently working on

having their culture and ways

of life recognised.

In as early as 2012, several

local communities in the area

of Curarrehue, at the outskirts

of the Villarrica National Park,

came together to discuss the

economic perspectives of

their people. At this meeting,

they developed the idea of

community-based tourism.

By 2014, tours along three

routes across the region

were offered, organised

by local guides. Today, the

project has found around

30 local partners who share

the Mapuche’s culture and

ways of living with visitors.

Various activities are offered

along the routes, from storytelling

about the Mapuche’s

world view or local medicinal

plants to visits to farms and

vegetable gardens. The

guest may also get actively

involved

The TO DO Award Human Rights in

Tourism 2021 goes to “Equality in Tourism

International”. The London-based

organisation is committed to full gender

equality for women in all areas of tourism.

“Equality in Tourism” was founded in

2018 with the objective of a consistent

transformation of gender relations to

create new, just, and sustainable forms

of tourism and structures that maintain

it. In its practical work, the organisation

initiates projects and measures to

promote gender equality, better access

of women to areas of work in tourism,

equal participation in decision-making

processes within the entire tourism

sector. In particular, the organisation

Esfahk historic

village, Iran

gathers data on the gender situation

in the tourism sector, as a basis for the

development of strategies for change.

For the London-based NGO, the human

rights approach is a constructive one for

the tourism industry.

Apart from strategic needs analyses

which make it possible to understand

the relations within and between

communities and to develop methods

for positive change, “Equality in Tourism”

develops gender awareness programmes.

Organisational development and

programme delivery – including strategic

planning, change management, training

programmes, and feasibility studies are

also included in the range of activities

LAST YEAR’S WINNERS

HONOURED

In a live session yesterday, Claudia Mitteneder In a

live session yesterday, Claudia Mitteneder and Rika

Jean-François announced the awards, explaining

that as last year’s ITB was cancelled at short notice

due to Covid-19, the two TO DO Award winners of

2020 could not be honoured during a live event at the

trade fair. So, during this year’s online TO DO Award

ceremony, the projects Esfahk Historic Village, Iran

and Banteay Chhmar Community Based Tourism,

Cambodia were also presented and honoured

ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021 5


I NEWS I

Opening Press Conference

ITB Berlin NOW centres on restarting the industry and fostering ideas

for recovering post-crisis

Opening Press Conference of ITB Berlin NOW with Monika

Jones and Martin Ecknig, CEO, Messe Berlin GmbH

Opening Press Conference

of ITB Berlin NOW

The digital edition of the World’s Leading

Trade Show has kicked off at itb-now.com.

With an innovative format for challenging

times, a total of 3,513 exhibitors from 120

countries are participating from 9 to 12

March 2021.

“We stand firmly side by side with the global travel

community. No other industry on earth is a people’s

business in the way that the travel industry is. In

the past, and often in difficult times of political,

diplomatic and military crisis, ITB Berlin has always

offered a marketplace, brought people together

and opened up communication channels when

others were closed. An industry which blooms

on exchanging ideas and broadening personal

horizons, and which empowers the intercultural

dialogue, has for the most part been forced

to remain silent. It must not be totally inactive

however. Thankfully, the big challenges we have

had to confront since the pandemic began are

also a force for good, bringing unbelievable energy

and innovation. The industry would not be what it

is if over the years it had not met the challenges

of every age”, said Martin Ecknig, the new CEO of

Messe Berlin.

Tourism organisations and associations, travel

technology providers, tour operators, the hotel

industry and destination management companies

(DMCs) are strongly represented this year.

Taking as its slogan “The digital meet-up of the

travel industry. Anytime. Anywhere.”, the show

is providing ideal conditions for trade visitors

to network, exchange ideas, stay well-informed

and negotiate business with market players and

tourism service providers from all over the world.

The ITB Berlin NOW platform concentrates

business, networking, content and news in one

place, and with its Show Floor, streaming video,

virtual cafés and intelligent matchmaking tools

offers the best opportunities for successful trade

show results. At the ITB Berlin NOW Convention,

more than 280 leading international speakers,

including more than 80 CEOs, are holding

lectures and interviews in 180 virtual discussion

rounds, offering their assessments and opinions

on how the industry can overcome the impact of

the coronavirus pandemic and shape a successful

recovery.

NO OTHER INDUSTRY

ON EARTH IS A PEOPLE’S

BUSINESS IN THE WAY THAT

THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY IS.

THINK TANK

FOR RESTARTING TOURISM

At the ITB Berlin NOW Convention, more than 280

leading international speakers, including more

than 80 CEOs, are holding lectures and interviews

in 180 virtual discussion rounds, offering their

assessments and opinions on how the industry

can overcome the impact of the coronavirus

pandemic and shape a successful recovery.

Under the convention's heading “Rethink,

Regenerate, Restart – Tourism for a Better Normal”,

leading industry figures, scientists and visionary

minds will examine the impact of the Covid-19

pandemic on the global travel industry and offer

qualified and practical advice for a recovery.

In addition, over the four days of events at the

global travel industry’s leading think tank, the

programme includes topics such as sustainable

travel, destination marketing and the changing

MICE and business travel market. More than 280

top-class speakers representing airlines, the hotel,

cruise and package tour industries will share their

views on future developments and trends in their

respective sectors.

REASONS TO HOLIDAY

CLOSE TO HOME

Last year, many Germans rediscovered holidaying

at home. As the first Official Culture Destination at

ITB Berlin NOW 2021, the federal state of Saxony

is promoting itself as an outstanding destination

for cultural and city tourism as well as offering a

unique nature experiences. Next year it will be the

host country of the World’s Largest Travel Trade

Show.

This year, at the start of a multi-year partnership,

the spotlight is also on Georgia, the first Digital

Adventure and Sustainability Partner. In 2022, it

will be the trade show’s official cultural destination,

before becoming the official host country in 2023

6 ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I NEWS I

Greece's tourism minister

optimistic for 2021 season

Greece is eying the 2021 season

with confidence. "We are more than

optimistic. We are ready to welcome

international travellers," Greece's

Minister of Tourism, Harry Theoharis

said in a press conference at ITB Berlin

NOW yesterday.

The minister explained why Greece is confident

about the summer season. "Our ambition is to

be sure that Greece does all it can to guarantee

health safety. Greece will not stop people from

coming. They will just need to test negative to

covid, even if not vaccinated," said the Minister.

New national health protocols are being tested

in April and will be implemented from May.

They should be accompanied by the lifting of

travel restrictions as the vaccination continues

to roll out. "We see the end of this dark time,"

promised Harry Theoharis.

Asked about which markets should see a

quickest rebound, the Minister is clear: "It

will depend very much how a vaccination

Tunisia:

expecting a

great year for

tourism again

in 2022

Harry

Theoharis

Greece's Minister

of Tourism

campaign is rolled out. For example we see

demand picking from the UK as vaccination

gains strength."

Greece will lure European travellers with a new

ad campaign, "All you want is Greece", due to

come out prior to the summer season

VISIT

BR AND CARD

Habib

Ammar

Tunisia's Minister

of Tourism and

Handicrafts

ABU DHABI, TO

BE EXPLORED

IN ALL SAFETY

Abu Dhabi is ready to welcome tourists again.

"Although 2020 was a challenging year, we

have a strong long-term projection for 23

million travellers in 2030 compared to 11.35

million in 2019," said Husain Ali AlHashmi,

Europe & America Regional Manager, Abu

Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism,

at a press conference on Tuesday. From this

total, 42% of all travellers were from Europe,

followed by Asia with 23% and the Middle-

East with 13%.

This year, Abu Dhabi is placing its hopes in a

quick return of travellers from Russia as well

as an emergence of Jewish tourism, thanks to

the normalisation of relations with Israel. The

Dubai Expo will also be an attractive element

for Abu Dhabi, said AlHashmi.

The country has already established a "Green

List" comprising 13 countries exempted of

compulsory quarantine. "The goal is to

protect everyone. 50% of the population is

already vaccinated, a number reaching 80%

for workers in tourism. We also certify hotels

of hygiene standards. 95% have already

received a certification," said AlHashmi.

Abu Dhabi international Airport's procedures

for arriving visitors has been totally

reimagined with additional safety protection.

And after hotels, the Go Safe Certification

programme has been expanded to include

malls, museums, amusement parks and

restaurants

Tunisia's Minister of Tourism and

Handicrafts, Habib Ammar, talked

about the evolution of the tourism

sector in his country during a live press

conference at ITB Berlin NOW.

According to the minister, Tunisia has been very

successful in its fight against the pandemic

and the implementation of health safety

measures. According to the minister, despite

a reopening of the country over the summer

months, activity remained below expectation.

A new focus is being placed on the strengthening

of the domestic tourism sector. It will remain a

priority this year with a national strategy being

implemented to see more domestic travellers.

"Tourism in the Sahara will be one of our strategic

goals for 2021".

Internationally, the Minister forecasts more

travellers looking for sustainable activities.

"Seaside tourism made the reputation of our

country. It will remain the bulk of it in the future

but we need to focus more on sustainable

products. This will make Tunisia a year-round

destination," said Ammar

VISIT

BR AND CARD

VISIT

BR AND CARD

ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021 7


I NEWS I

Empowering the

"restart and reset"

for travel industry

growth

Global B2B air-ticket solution provider Unififi says

that while the Covid-19 pandemic stranded the world

at home, it accelerated consumers' usage of online

tools and platforms and saw a number of new digital

providers come into the travel industry.

Keeping Child

Protection in Focus

Dong Liu, the Founder of

Unififi, says: "When we discuss

the recovery with our new

clients, we always talk about

the mandate that every travel

business should have – coming

back more efficiently by

capitalising on digitalisation."

Among B2B flight distribution

providers, Unififi says it has

demonstrated the digitalised

supply chain's value with

strong resilience through the

past year.

Serving globally with IATA

agent accreditation in four

continents and the NDC tech

license, it backs up its merchant

partners with an all-in-one

approach, covering content,

technology, operations and

customer service.

"More than 60% of Unififi's

aggregated supplies are

competitive airfares, and

there is a less than five

seconds average search

server response time, with a

ticketing automation success

rate of 96%, and customer

satisfaction supported by

the system's flight status

monitoring. Either through API

or web-based platforms, Unififi

Cloud is empowering the travel

business to gain a number of

capabilities," adds Mr Liu. It

offers:

• Access to competitive fares

aggregated from major GDSs,

and direct connections to

FSC and LCC airlines with

NDC/API;

• Fully automated self-service

efficiency from search,

ticketing, post-booking

management, order, and

financial related management

processes; and

• Attentive 24/7/365 English/

Chinese service, including

thorough flight status

monitoring

VISIT

BR AND CARD

ECPAT and The Code urge the travel and tourism industry to keep

child protection on their recovery agenda.

The past year with the global Covid-19

pandemic has had various impacts

on people throughout the world.

Economies are affected and many

businesses are struggling for their own

survival. Families relying on work in the

tourism industry face unprecedented

challenges. Without job opportunities,

people in many countries are falling

into poverty, which makes families

and children more vulnerable to all

forms of sexual exploitation, including

trafficking. Offenders gain the trust of

families and groom children, to exploit

them for the production of online child

abuse material or live-streaming. And

offenders in the virtual environment

are likely to follow up with direct travel

to destinations once the restrictions

are eased - to exploit children in

person.

Tuesday, 9 March

10:30 – 11:00

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

New Trends and Challenges for

Child Protection

In the view of the restart of tourism, it is

essential to ensure that child protection

is prioritised by governments and the

private sector. ECPAT and several

organisations have already published

a “Call for restarting travel & tourism

with child protection in focus” on the

occasion of World Tourism Day 2020.

They are reiterating the Call for Action

and discussing recommendations on

how to make tourism fully responsible

and sustainable, through the focus on

child protection:

Tuesday, 9 March

13:00 – 13:30

COFFEE BRIEFING

Child Protection during

Post-Covid Travel

Wednesday, 10 March

12:30 – 13:00

LUNCH BRIEFING

New Trends and Challenges for

Child Protection

Thursday, 11 March

10:00 – 10:

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

Child Protection during Post-

Covid Travel

Learn more by visiting

the BrandCards

VISIT

BR AND CARD

VISIT

BR AND CARD

ECPAT Germany

The Code

8 ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021

www.itb-berlin-news.com


ADVERTORIAL

I NEWS I

Redang Island, Terengganu

Where is social

distancing easy?

On the islands and beaches

of Malaysia, of course...

As travellers yearn to get away from it all, it has been

confirmed that one of the key criteria for the immediate post-

Covid era will be "space". Thankfully, Malaysia's paradiselike

islands and beaches abound in space, with the added

advantage of being adorned with rich local cultures and

food that is renowned worldwide.

PULAU REDANG

Dedicated to visitors who are

looking for a tropical island

getaway to release all their stress,

Redang Island is the place to

be. With dazzling white sands

stretching along its beaches

starkly contrasting against

emerald forests, and pristine water

glistening under the sun, Redang

Island is truly a feast for the eyes,

body, and soul.

The island is located approximately

45km off the coast of Kuala

Terengganu on the northeastern

side of the Malaysian peninsula.

Designated as a marine park,

Redang Island is a popular nesting

ground for sea turtles and is

known for the astonishing beauty

of its preserved aquatic life. On

Redang, there are many luxurious

resorts and budget-friendly hotels

to choose from.

Pulau Redang also houses a huge

mangrove forest, brimming with

numerous species of flora and

fauna; such as macaque monkeys

and mouse deer. Visitors can also

find wild orchids and white-bellied

sea eagles on the island.

LANGKAWI

Langkawi is not called The Jewel

of Kedah for nothing. Turquoise

waters and glimmering powdery

sands making this spectacular

archipelago one of Malaysia's top

holiday destinations.

It is said that nature can heal the

exhausted soul. A tour of Kilim

Karst Geoforest Park offers some

healing experiences with its

spectacular collection of geo-sites.

With just a short boat ride, visitors

can appreciate the beauty of flora

and fauna in the mangrove forests.

On some lucky days, visitors can

spot an otter or a dolphin in this

emerald river!

A ride on the Panorama SkyCab

takes the visitor 650 metres from

the land to get their adrenaline

pumping while enjoying a

panoramic view of the lush green

forests and waterfalls. On the now

world renowned SkyBridge, they

walk along a 125-metre suspended

bridge, 100 metres above ground,

and stand in awe of the beautiful,

breathtaking views.

Langkawi also has duty-free

status, making it the ultimate

shopping haven.

SIPADAN ISLAND

Located in the Celebes Sea off

Sabah in Malaysian Borneo,

Sipadan Island is unlike any other

in the world.

Rated as one of the top diving sites

in the world, Sipadan is dedicated

to limited numbers of passionate

scuba divers to observe the highly

diverse tropical marine life there.

It is renowned for its crystal-clear

waters and vibrant blue hues

from the skies, accompanied with

the blessing of refreshing ocean

scents.

The island is inhabited by

thousands of turtles, surrounded

by colourful coral reefs, inhabited

by an abundance of species. A

breath-taking 500-metre drop-off

awaits underwater enthusiasts

from around the world

VISIT

BR AND CARD

EAGLES FLYING

OVER LANGKAWI

GEOPARK

EXPLORING THE

MANGROVES ON

LANGKAWI

SIPADAN ISLAND,

SABAH

ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021 9


Dr Anna

Bialk-Wolf

Institute of Research

& Development of Medical

Tourism

Marek

Andryszak

CEO, TUI Deutschland

A new approach

to medical

tourism

Will package

tours ever be

the same again?

In an ITB Berlin NOW keynote today, Dr Anna Bialk-Wolf,

of the Institute of Research and Development of Medical

Tourism, will discuss “A new approach to Medical Tourism”.

We asked her to tell us a little more.

Marek Andryszak CEO - TUI Deutschland will be speaking

today at the ITB Berlin NOW Convention in a panel discussion

on “Package travel in transition: what remains after Corona?”

We asked him to give us a little foretaste of what we will hear.

Initially, the concept of medical

tourism included only traveling

abroad with the intent to receive

medical treatment. Other activities

such as sightseeing, a programme

for the accompanying traveller or

recovering in a spa could also be

seen a part of a medical tourism

trip. The concept of medical

tourism today concerns additional

issues. The first major factor we

can consider as an external one,

underlines the conjunction of

medical tourism with other types of

tourism. In pre-Covid times, medical

tourism was only a small niche with

a few tourism stakeholders and a

few medical clinics involved in the

process. Currently, health matters

have achieved a very high rank in

developing the image of the tourism

destination and the importance of

it goes far beyond medical tourism.

A second major issue is connected

with increasing popularity of new

forms of doctor-patient interaction

generated mostly by technology.

There is no longer the necessity

of personal presence during the

process of treatment, because

even more can be done using

telemedicine.

What are your thoughts about this

year’s ITB Berlin NOW?

Regarding the exceptional situation,

it is important to get the feeling

of community and continuity. ITB

NOW constitutes an important

platform to fulfil these needs. On

the other hand, I think that we have

to handle more responsibility, and

redefine our attitude to priorities

and habits. But it is far beyond

the scope of the medical tourism

problem. The struggle between

old and new will continue to shape

our future, as always in a time of

breakthrough

We expect the package holidays

to international destinations to

rebound faster than individually

booked vacations. Prospects

for tourism are good, with

holidaymakers spending more

on their trips and booking higher

quality. Many have extra room to

manoeuvre in their budget, then

choose a 5-star hotel over a 4-star

hotel. Some also hold vouchers

from 2020 because they had given

up holidays in 2020 due to the

Covid 19 crisis.

How bright is the future of package

tours?

Generally speaking, the pandemic

has spawned the come-back of

package holidays. Guests can rely

on the fact that they can cancel

their booking in case of a travel

warnings and will be repatriated – a

big advantage over an individually

booked trip.

Where will the “sweet spots” be

in 2021?

The main destinations in the

summer will be the classics:

Spain, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and

Portugal - that is, Mediterranean

first. We also expect high demand

for land destinations, especially for

Germany, Austria, Italy and Croatia.

What are your thoughts about the

format of this year’s ITB Berlin

NOW?

ITB was the global one-spot

meeting point for the travel industry.

In Berlin, you could meet many

business partners and experience

the best travel destinations. Of

course, we have learned that this

is also possible digitally, but it can’t

replace the personal interaction.

For 2021 ITB Berlin NOW is a good

solution and I am optimistic that we

will reconvene next year in Berlin,

again

Wednesday,

10 March 2021

15:25 - 15:35

ITB KEYNOTE

A new approach to Medical Tourism

ITB Berlin NOW Convention Stage 2

Wednesday,

10 March 2021

12:25 - 12:55

ITB KEYNOTE

Pauschalreise im Umbruch: Umtauschrechte,

Flextarife, neue Anzahlungsregeln – was

bleibt nach Corona?

ITB Berlin NOW Convention Stage 1

10 ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I TRADE TALK I

The future

of Asian travel

distribution

Deep Kalra

CEO, MakeMytrip

In an today's ITB Berlin NOW CEO Interview, Deep Kalra,

CEO of MakeMytrip will be talking about "The Future of

Asian Travel Distribution”. As a foretaste of presentation,

we asked him how his organisation has been faring in these

times, and how it has been adapting.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been

a black swan event for the global

travel & tourism industry and

has had a far-reaching impact,

which we will perhaps continue

to see for years to come. It’s

also in times of adversity that

the endurance and resilience

of the industry, ecosystem and

businesses gets truly known.

From rewiring our strategy to

focus on survival during the zerotravel

phase, to readapting our

offerings and innovating to offer

safe, seamless and contactless

travelling experience - we

continued to reinvent ourselves

for recovery and growth. All along

we worked even more closely

with the ecosystem to help bring

back the industry on its feet faster.

As the pandemic appears to be

on the wane in India, we have

successfully moved the needle to

springing back a 169% quarteron-quarter

growth, during the

third quarter FY’21.

What are some of the new

strategic directions being taken?

In the near-term, our primary

focus remains on propelling the

domestic travel demand. This is

the segment that will continue

to spearhead recovery and we

are going after the opportunity

through our new localised travel

offerings and initiatives that

have been designed with an aim

to encourage Indians to explore

more locally. We are also bullish on

solving the need-gap for private

or alternative accommodations –

a trend that has emerged strong

following the pandemic with

travellers now actively considering

both, hotels and non-hotels.

Another trend that has found new

force is the acceleration of online

adoption across sectors including

travel and we believe that it is

only a matter of time before we

start to accrue the benefits from

the offline to online shift in travel

booking behaviour.

What advice can you give in

terms of “next steps”? No doubt

you will be expanding on these in

your talk.

In future, as cross-border leisure

and business travel resumes, a

smooth international travel market

recovery will demand deeper and

wider collaboration between

countries and the larger travel

ecosystem to introduce initiatives

that promise greater safety and

hygiene assurance to travellers.

Ubiquitous safety protocols

such as immunity certifications

and vaccination passports will

certainly hold key to boosting

confidence amongst travellers

and this to me will become the

new travel norm

Wednesday,

10 March 2021

16:40 - 16:55

Make MyTrip/

IT’S ALL ABOUT

TRAVEL

Nurtured from the seed of a

single great idea - to empower

the traveller - MakeMyTrip

is a pioneer in India’s online

travel industry. Founded in

the year 2000 by Deep Kalra,

MakeMyTrip came to life to

empower the Indian traveller

with instant bookings and

comprehensive choices.

MakeMyTrip has stayed ahead

of the curve by continually

evolving its technology to meet

the ever-changing demands

of the rapidly developing

global travel market, steadily

establishing itself as India’s

leading online travel company

ITB CEO INTERVIEW

The Future of Asian Travel

Distribution

ITB Berlin NOW Convention Stage 1

ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021 11


I EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW I

Innovation,

collaboration

and adaptation

- Indonesia's

recipe for tourism

recovery

Exclusive Interview:

Minister of Tourism and

Creative Economy of the

Republic of Indonesia,

Sandiaga S. Uno

INDONESIA @ ITB BERLIN NOW

There are more than

100 Indonesian tourism

industry players

participating in the first

fully digital edition of

ITB Berlin.

Indonesia will run four

exhibitor presentations:

Tuesday,

09 March 2021

10:00 - 10:30

ITB KEYNOTE

INDONESIA – Travel Update and

current measurements in Indonesia

ITB Berlin NOW Convention

Stage 2

Wednesday,

10 March 2021

01:00 - 01:30

ITB KEYNOTE

INDONESIA HERITAGE: Explore

Ecotourism and Community Based

Tourism Activity (Sumatra, Java and Bali)

ITB Berlin NOW Convention Stage 1

All times are in CET

12 ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW I

Sandiaga S. Uno was recently appointed

as Indonesia's Minister of Tourism and

Creative Economy. We began by asking

him what he will be doing differently to

his predecessor.

Our President, Joko Widodo, has entrusted me

with a responsibility to develop Indonesian

tourism, upon which more than 30-million people

depend for their livelihoods in our country. Thus,

rather than doing things differently, I prefer to

continue the efforts and programmes of my

predecessors to develop the tourism and creative

economy of Indonesia. We will

continue to focus on developing

tourism and creative economy in

the five Super Priority Destinations

(DSP), under President Joko

Widodo’s direction, namely Lake

Toba I North Sumatra, Borobudur

– Central Java, Mandalika – West

Nusa Tenggara, Likupang – North

Sulawesi, and Labuan Bajo – East

Nusa Tenggara; and the backbone

destinations, namely Bali, Jakarta,

and Riau Islands.

I must say that it is quite a

challenge to develop tourism

during this pandemic. However,

since the President has not given

us much time, we will carry out our programmes

by working quickly and working together. We

will also implement the MOTCE’s three pillars:

namely innovation, collaboration, and adaptation,

in order to obtain satisfying results.

It is evident that the Covid crisis has had a

massive impact on your economy. What is your

plan moving forward?

This pandemic has hit us all hard; not only in

Indonesia, but also in the whole world. However,

we cannot just stand-by waiting for situation

to get better. We must manage to survive and

strive in this pandemic situation. The Indonesia’s

statistical organisation, in its latest report, noted

that the national economy in 2020 experienced a

contraction of 2.07%. Bali, one of the backbones of

Indonesia tourism was minus 9.3% cumulatively

in 2020, which is the deepest contraction for Bali

Province.

Cutting the transmission of Covid-19 is surely

the key in reviving the tourism and creative

economy sector. In addition, we must put our

efforts into fostering confidence among tourists

in order for them to travel back to Indonesia. Our

"WE WILL

CONTINUE TO

FOCUS ON

DEVELOPING

TOURISM AND

CREATIVE

ECONOMY IN

THE FIVE SUPER

PRIORITY

DESTINATIONS

(DSP)..."

current focus is on encouraging

domestic tourists to travel

within the country, in order to

move the economic wheel, by

campaigning #DiIndonesiaAja

(Travel in Indonesia) and

#BanggaBerwisatadiIndonesia

(Proud of Traveling in Indonesia).

The need to guarantee the

safety and health of tourism

service providers and visitors

is our driving force to promote

the programme of CHSE

(Cleanliness,

H e a l t h ,

Safety, and Environmental

Sustainability). The aim of

the programme is to ensure

that the tourism products

and destinations in Indonesia

fulfil all health protocols and

standards. This year, MoTCE

targeted about 65,000 tourism

industries to be CHSE- certified.

The MOTCE also proposes

that all workers in tourism

and the creative economy are

prioritised in the second phase

of COVID-19 vaccinations.

What are your thoughts about the current

format of ITB Berlin NOW, and how important

is this opportunity in helping you achieve your

communication goals?

In this pandemic situation, we must be able to

adapt to the situation. The pandemic has made it

impossible for us to have on-site exhibitions. Thus,

adopting a digital format is highly compatible

with the current situation. This has enabled us

and our tourism and creative economy industry

to continue promoting our tourism potential and

tourism destinations, despite the pandemic.

This is also in line with our strategy to adopt

technology in the tourism and creative economy

sectors. We have previously encouraged our

tourism and creative economy

actors to make use of digital

technology in promoting

their products. I believe

that by using this digital

format, we can still

manage to undertake

‘normal’ exhibition

activities and to achieve

our goals

VISIT

BRAND CAR D

INDONESIA'S "QUICK

WIN" STRATEGIES

In order to recover tourism and creative

industries amid the pandemic, as well as

lowering the risk of surging cases, the

Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy/

Tourism and Creative Economy Agency

(MoTCE/TCEA) has come up with “Quick

Win” strategies during 2021, namely:

1/ Implementing Cleanliness, Healthy, Safety,

and Environmental Sustainability (CHSE)

protocols in all tourist destinations as the

primary focus;

2/ Accelerating CHSE certification in all

tourist destinations;

3/ Crowd Control or visitor management that

utilises specific technology;

4/ Creating new attractions, such as

events (MICE, festivals, concerts, art

performance, etc.), wellness tourism,

culinary tourism, sports tourism, golf,

running, swimming, diving, paragliding,

edutourism, ecotourism, etc.

5/ Marketing through Big Data:

Targeted and segmented-based

marketing;

• InDOnesia Care or I Do Care campaign

to recover tourists' sense of security and

safety;

• Encouraging people to travel within

the country with the featured hashtag

#DiIndonesiaAjad. Encouraging

people to help tourism and creative

business through loving and using

home-grown products with hashtags

#BanggaBuatanIndonesia and

#BeliKreatifLokal

Bali

Thursday,

11 March 2021

11:00 - 11:30

ITB KEYNOTE

INDONESIA ADVENTURE & RESPONSIBLE

TOURISM: Experience the Colours of People,

Culture & Nature (Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi & Bali)

ITB Berlin NOW Convention Stage 2

Thursday,

11 March 2021

12:00 - 12:30

ITB KEYNOTE

INDONESIA SUSTAINABLE & LEISURE

HOLIDAY: Visit the Paradise on the East:

(Lombok, Komodo, Flores, Timor, Sumba,

Papua and Bali)

ITB Berlin NOW Convention Stage 2

All times are in CET

ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021 13


I EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW I

Italy eyes

the future

Exclusive Interview:

Maria Elena Rossi, director

of Marketing and Promotion,

ENIT – Italian National Tourist

Board

14 ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW I

While the past year has been more than difficult for the

global tourism industry, with Italy one of the first to be hit

hard, all eyes are now pointed to the future. We spoke to

Maria Elena Rossi, director of Marketing and Promotion,

ENIT – Italian National Tourist Board, and asked her firstly

to give us an overview of how her organisation has been

dealing with the current situation.

Media relations are crucial in

times of crisis management,

together with monitoring the

sentiment and the news on all

media and conversations, online

and offline. Providing reliable

information concerning the

development of the pandemic,

the safety measures of the Italian

destinations and the tourism

industry has been a priority for

the restart of travel in summer

2020, in particular for Italy

as one of the world's leading

destinations. Trust, accountability

and reliability are more than

ever crucial in re-establishing

consumer confidence. When

the borders were opened on

June 3rd, 2020, as the first

European country, we started a

global cross-media campaign,

"Travel to Italy", focusing on safe

experiences in our country, with

a diversified approach in three

catchment areas: domestic,

European and long-haul. On the

domestic market, we focused

the message on key values

such as sustainability and

responsibility, as most Italian

regions have invested in tourism

communication on the domestic

market. On the European market,

the call to action was focused on

safe Italian summer experiences.

For the long-haul markets, the

message was inspirational. With

our digital campaigns, we have

reached over 1.2bn views. Finally,

we developed a branded content

campaign in major international

magazines dedicated to Italian

art cities, aiming at the highend

contemporary traveller, to

reposition Rome, Milan, Venice

and Florence, together with cities

such as Genoa, Turin, Parma,

Bologna, Palermo, Bari, Naples,

to mention a few.

How are you communicating on

a global level now and what will

your strategy be in the short to

mid-term?

Our short-term strategy is in line

with our 2020 approach, very

flexible and alert, on the basis of

the development of safety and

sanitary management and of

the opportunities of opening of

markets in coming months. We

have an “always on” cross-media

communication activity, based on

the 3 catchment areas we have

identified. The message is both

reassuring and inspiring and will

be increasingly strong as the

bookings for the summer holidays

will start in different markets. We

WE ARE PARTNERING WITH THE

MAJOR TRAVEL COMPANIES AND

ASSOCIATIONS IN THE MAIN LONG-

HAUL SOURCE MARKETS FOR A 2022

RESTART

are mostly expecting travellers

from Europe, UK and Ireland. In

the mid-term, we are supporting

the restart of air traffic and we

will be hosting World Routes in

Milan in Q3. We are partnering

with the major travel companies

and associations in the main

long-haul source markets for a

2022 restart.

What do you think will be the

first external markets to start

opening back up to Italy?

The German speaking, the

Benelux, the Nordics, France,

UK, Ireland and Spain are the

main source markets for Italy and

we expect a prompt restart for

the summer. Sanitary passes and

corridors, presently discussed by

the international tourism industry

and IATA are very promising. Italy

has proved to be reliable and

ready to restart with all safety

measures set up by destinations

and the tourism industry as a

whole.

Will the Covid crisis bring about

any permanent change in your

activities? If so, what?

Hybrid events, artificial

intelligence for visitor

management and touchless

technologies for safe and

seamless travel are innovations

that will stay after the Covid

crisis. Also, multi-generational

travellers, smaller groups,

outdoor and more customised

experiences and a sustainable

approach to mobility and travel

behaviour are trends that have

been accelerated and will be

further developed in coming

years. Finally, the travel stop has

raised awareness of the crucial

role of the tourism industry for

communities and economic

development in many countries

and the importance to balance

growth with sustainability.

What can people see in your

virtual offering at ITB NOW?

Almost 400 sellers from the

Italian tourism industry, together

with 11 regions and several

local authorities from cities and

destinations are participating

in the marketplace. We are

very proud to be coordinating

such a large, professional and

reliable tourism community,

looking towards the future with

optimism

Thursday,

04 March 2021

13:00

ENIT – OFFICIAL

REPRESENTATIVE

OF ITALY’S

REGIONS

ENIT promotes Italy as a global tourist

destination both by marketing the

different Regions and destinations

and by developing a sustainable and

balanced distribution throughout

the year. Their strategy is focused on

value growth, which implies market

segmentation, investments both in

leisure and the meeting industry,

and stronger support for areas with

potential. Special interests such as

cycling, hiking, golfing and, in general,

active holidays are growing fast and

are consistent with the sustainable

development and value growth of Italian

tourism in the Alps, the Apennines and

the Italian Islands.

ITALY’S KEY

SOURCE MARKETS

Italy is traditionally the first tourist

destination in Europe for travellers from

extra-European countries, growing at a

higher rate compared to its competitors.

In these markets, efforts are generally

being concentrated on the luxury

segment, on Millennials and Gen Z.

Germany is Italy’s #1 market with a

value of more than €7bn in 2019. Italy’s

promotional strategy has evolved

in the last few years, focussing on

segmentation and innovation.

VISIT

BRAND CAR D

ITB SESSION

Exhibitor presentation Italian

National Tousim Board

EXPO - Stage 2

ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021 15


I EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW I

The new face

of Malaysian

tourism

Exclusive Interview:

YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy

Shukri – Minister of Tourism,

Arts and Culture, Malaysia

COHESION

IS WHAT

THE

INDUSTRY

NEEDS

MORE THAN

EVER RIGHT

NOW

Since March 2020, YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy binti Shukri

has held the role of Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture in

Malaysia. We asked her what she expects from this year’s

ITB Berlin NOW.

ITB is one of the most important

annual events in the tourism sector.

During the past few years, several

initiatives such as partnerships

with major international airlines

and the European Travel Agents

& Tour Operators Association

(ECTAA), tactical campaigns with

tour operators and online travel

agencies (OTAs), workshops,

familiarisation and media trips

as well as diverse collaborations

with media had been established

in Berlin during ITB.

Through the current Covid-19

pandemic, we continue with

our aim to expand our network,

strengthen partnerships and

open ways for the coming years

through the virtual ITB. The new

format, ITB Berlin NOW, is indeed

completely new for everyone.

However, we are confident that

it will serve as a great experience

for trade exhibitors, buyers and

media. Cohesion is what the

industry needs more than ever

right now.

How important is tourism for the

Malaysian economy?

Tourism has always been, and

will continue to be, a crucial

industry for the country in

stimulating businesses, trade

and capital investments; creating

jobs and entrepreneurialism; and

protecting heritage and cultural

values. This is the generally

accepted view of tourism by other

countries as well.

Over the years, the tourism

industry in Malaysia has grown

significantly, both in terms of

tourist arrivals as well as economic

contribution. From a mere 5.5

million tourist arrivals in 1998,

contributing some RM8.5 billion

16 ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW I

in tourism receipts, Malaysia was

expected to attract 30 million

tourists in 2020, generating RM160

billion in tourist receipts.

Tourism encompasses 15.9% of

Malaysia’s total GDP. Out of a total

of 15.1 million people employed

in the Malaysian workforce, 3.6

million or 23.6% are employed in

the tourism industry.

What do plans look like in the

near to mid-term when it comes

to opening borders?

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts

and Culture (MOTAC) has held

discussions with the Health,

Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs

Ministries to explore opportunities

for the creation of travel bubble

arrangements with neighbouring

countries amid the Covid-19

situation.

Among the identified countries

were Brunei, Singapore and

Thailand, as well as other ASEAN

countries and the Asia-Pacific

countries such as Japan, South

Korea, Australia and New Zealand

as these places were identified

as safe by the World Health

Organisation.

This implementation is subject

to bilateral discussions and

considerations on health,

immigration, data-tracking, and

ongoing monitoring by the relevant

agencies for both countries.

Our Prime Minister Tan Sri

Muhyiddin Yassin, in his recent

meeting with Indonesian

President Joko Widodo has

secured an agreement on the

Reciprocal Green Lane/ Travel

Corridor Arrangement (RGL/

TCA) between both countries,

aiming to revitalise tourism thanks

to business travellers.

How is your external

communication changing “post

Covid”?

In addition to the advertisements

through printed and electronic

media, we are actively utilising

and increasing our promotions

via social media in the effort to

boost our online presence and

advance the “Malaysia Truly Asia”

campaign.

THE

MALAYSIAN

GOVERNMENT

LAUNCHED

THE NATIONAL

TOURISM

POLICY (DPN)

2020-2030 ON

23 DECEMBER

2020...

Through our various social media

platforms, we disseminate the

latest information on Malaysia’s

current situation pertaining to

Covid-19, tourism products in the

Covid-19 recovery era as well as the

initiatives that are implemented

by our industry players to ensure

that Malaysia is clean and safe to

travel.

Tourism Malaysia’s overseas

offices have also gone “virtual”

with their respective stakeholders

and industry players, with

educational webinars, live

sessions on product updates, and

online training academies.

What are the main factors that will

enable Malaysia to grow tourism

income in the future?

The Malaysian Government

launched the National Tourism

Policy (DPN) 2020-2030 on

23 December 2020, aimed at

ensuring the continuity of the

country’s tourism industry as well

as bringing back Malaysia as the

preferred tourism destination at

the global level.

This will be achieved by

strengthening competitiveness,

encouraging sustainable

and inclusive tourism sector

development, as well as

establishing plans to counter

potential future crisis situations.

The policy will be implemented

through six main strategic thrusts:

1. transformation of governance;

2. creation of Special Tourism

Investment Zones; 3. intensifying

digitalisation of tourism sector;

4. enriching tourists experience

and satisfaction; 5. strengthening

commitment to sustainable

tourism; and 6. increasing human

capital capacity in all tourism subsectors.

The Special Tourism Investment

Zones for tourism projects

will boost public-private

cooperation and lure more local

and international investors. The

effort is in line with Malaysia’s

commitment to Agenda 2030

and 17 Sustainable Development

Goals adopted by United Nations

Member States

VISIT

BR AND CARD

MEET THE NEW

MINISTER...

YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy binti

Shukri is a Malaysian politician from

the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera

Bersatu (PBB), a component party of

the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

She has served as the Minister

of Tourism, Arts and Culture in

the Perikatan Nasional (PN)

administration led by Prime

Minister Muhyiddin Yassin since

March 2020 and Member of

Parliament (MP) for Batang

Sadong since March 2008.

Previously, she had served as

the Minister in the Prime Minister's

Department and Minister

of Plantation Industries and

Commodities in the Barisan

Nasional (BN) administration led

by former Prime Minister Najib

Razak from May 2013 until May 2018

TOURISM

MALAYSIA AT

ITB BERLIN NOW

Meet the Malaysian travel experts at

the ITB TTA FORUM Café to get all

the first-hand information you need.

MALAYSIA TRULY

ASIA CAFÉ CORNER

Daily schedule:

March 9

Discover Malay Borneo

March 10

Highlights of the west coast

March 11

Experience the cradle of Malay

culture or relax on the islands of

the east coast

March 12

Active Malaysia

FLOATING

FISH-FARM

RESTAURANT

IN LANGKAWI,

MALAYSIA

PERHENTIAN

ISLAND,

MALAYSIA -

A LARGELY

UNDISCOVERED

PARADISE

ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021 17


I REGION I ASIA I

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE

SITE OF SUKHOTHAI IN

THAILAND REMAINED

EMPTY OF INTERNATIONAL

TRAVELLERS IN 2020- LIKE

MOST OF ASIA

ASIA

ARMENIA

AZERBAIJAN

BANGLADESH

BHUTAN

CAMBODIA

CHINA

GEORGIA

HONG KONG

INDIA

INDONESIA

JAPAN

KOREA

(REPUBLIC OF KOREA)

LAOS

MACAO

MALAYSIA

MALDIVES

MONGOLIA

MYANMAR

NEPAL

PHILIPPINES

SINGAPORE

SRI LANKA

TAIWAN

TAJIKISTAN

THAILAND

UZBEKISTAN

VIETNAM

Asia set to bounce back

from 2022

While the continent registered the highest drop in tourist

arrivals in 2020, provisional UNWTO figures indicate

recovery should begin in the next year

NEWS

Domestic tourism helped some Asian

countries to survive last year. For example,

hotels in Indian leisure destinations

recorded average occupancy of 65% to

70% in destinations such as Kerala, Goa or

Rajasthan. City hotels suffered more with

occupancy hanging around 30% to 35% due

to a weak business travel market, according

to the Federation of Associations of Indian

Tourism and Hospitality.

Of all the continents in the world, Asia reacted to

the Covid crisis in 2020 by adopting the most radical

measures, with many countries shutting down their

borders to all foreign movements.

For a year now, few if no visitors

have been allowed in most

countries of the continent.

According to UNWTO figures,

total arrivals reached last year

53.6 million arrivals compared to

342.9 million a year earlier. This

represented a drop of 84.3%.

Tourism in countries such as

China, India, Indonesia, Japan,

Singapore, South Korea or

Vietnam only survived from

domestic movements. Only

a handful of Asian countries

continued to welcome foreign

travellers. Cambodia and

Thailand allowed some travellers

under certain conditions

assorted with a compulsory

two-week quarantine. The

Maldives reopened already last

July; Nepal did the same at the

end of last year, and Sri Lanka

opened in January. The Maldives

consequently managed to keep

the drop in tourist arrivals to

67.5%.

NORTHEAST ASIA

RELIED ONLY ON

DOMESTIC TOURISM

Last year, all countries in

Northeast Asia restricted

access to foreign travellers by

limiting international flights.

China closed all its borders to

foreign travellers and relied

only on the generally huge

volume of domestic travellers.

Other countries or regions such

as Japan, South Korea or Taiwan

adopted similar policies.

In Southeast Asia, flagship

countries in international tourism

such as Vietnam, Indonesia,

Singapore or Malaysia have

not been open to foreign

travellers since April 2020.

Others such as Thailand and

Cambodia tried to reopen to

wealthier travellers. However,

the situation is due to improve

this year. Thailand is looking

at ways to ease restrictions

on quarantine conditions and

potentially prepare itself to

reopen for travellers who have

been vaccinated. Bali looks like

reopening to certain countries

under a "green corridor"

agreement. Singapore is mulling

over similar solutions.

Southern Asia recorded a slightly

better performance according to

UNWTO, with total international

arrivals in 2020 representing

23.5% of the numbers recorded

in 2019. While India completely

closed its borders to international

travellers, the tourism sector

relied on the huge number of

domestic travellers. However, in

February, the government spoke

of a “calibrated resumption

of tourist visas on a countryspecific

basis following strict

protocols for those able to enter

the country"

PATA earlier this year published forecasts for

2021 and 2022 under three scenarios: mild,

medium and severe. In 2021, the association

estimates that total international visitor

arrivals could represent between 3% and

20% of 2019 volume. 2022 should see a

sharp bounce back, with numbers between

23% and 56.4%.

China recorded a total volume of 2.88 billion

domestic trips made by tourists in 2020,

representing a slump of 52.1% year on year,

according to the Ministry of Culture and

Tourism. The situation improved during

the year as the pandemic in the country

receded. While the first quarter recorded

only 295 million trips, total trips reached 946

million in the fourth quarter

SRI LANKA DECIDED TO

REOPEN THE COUNTRY

TO INTERNATIONAL

TOURISM THIS JANUARY

18 ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I REGION I ASIA I

ADVERTORIAL

Fort Siloso, Sentosa Island, Singapore

ADVERTORIAL

Rediscovering

Sentosa,

Singapore's

Holiday Island

Sentosa Island has consistently rolled out limited-time novel

experiences to attract locals back to the island, adding a

new spin to the current island offerings.

One of these experiences is the Fort Siloso Rediscovery Tour (Battle of

Singapore Edition), which allows tour participants to explore the grounds

of Fort Siloso, Singapore’s only preserved coastal fort, alongside history

experts to journey through Singapore’s wartime past. Participants are

given the opportunity to visit areas that are not otherwise accessible to

the public, such as Siloso Pier, a coastal mine defence casement and the

Coastal Search Light station.

Appeal to foodies and adventurous couples, Gourmet Island Escapade

was launched on 30 December 2020, which entitles participants to enjoy

an intimate island tour as they indulge in a four-course gourmet menu

savoured across four amazing scenic locations – Trapizza, Fort Siloso,

Sentosa Golf Club and Arbora – from an idyllic beach to a panoramic fort,

a sprawling golf course to a towering hill.

Sentosa is home to an exciting array of themed attractions, award-winning

spa retreats and resort accommodation, alongside lush greenery, golden

sandy beaches, world-renowned championship golf courses and even a

deep-water yachting marina and luxury residences - making it the perfect

island-in-the-city for holiday makers and business travelers. Sentosa has

been certified with the SG Clean quality mark, a nation-wide campaign to

raise standards of cleanliness and public hygiene in Singapore. Thorough

health and safety measures are in place to ensure your time on the island

is both safe and enjoyable

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BR AND CARD

ASIANA AIRLINES

THE FIVE-STAR SKYWAY

TO SOUTH KOREA

Founded in South Korea in 1988, Asiana Airlines has, for

years, been a synonym of service and quality. Awarded

a 5-star airline ranking, Asiana Airlines has also been

nominated as the world's best airline.

The airline's route network

includes 21 countries and 64

cities worldwide. The fleet

currently consists of 83 aircraft,

six of which are A380s. Asiana

Airlines currently connects

Germany and Korea several

times a week with the ultramodern

Airbus A350. The airline

has been a member of the Star

Alliance since 2003, the world's

largest aviation group. Members

of the frequent flyer program

“Asiana Club” can thus collect

miles not only on Asiana Airlines

flights but with all Star Alliance

members.

Travellers are able to book a real

5-star flight experience to explore

Asia, for example with an offer

to South Korea's most famed

island. Jeju is in fact Korea's

biggest island with subtropical

nature and the highest mountain

in the country. It has UNESCO

World Heritage Sites, exciting

hiking tours and festivals, as well

as the world renowned tasty Jeju

cuisine. The addition of all these

experiences turns a stay on Jeju

island into something unique

and memorable. Korea, the

"Country of the Morning Calm"

is rich in culture and the perfect

blend of traditional and modern.

For a long time Asia's best keptsecret,

Korea has turned over

years into one of the hottest

holiday destinations worldwide.

Find out more about Jeju and

many other sights in Korea at

STOPOVERKOREA: https://

stopover-korea.com/jeju

Book your flight on: https://

flyasiana.com/C/DE/EN/event/

detail/CM202102100001331745.

Early bird ticket holders will be

given the opportunity to receive

a special K-Box as a gift. More

details will be released soon.

(The offer is however reserved

for German-speaking markets

only)

* 5-Star status continuously

awarded since 2007 by Skytrax

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BR AND CARD

ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021 19


I REGION I ASIA I

VISIT

Selangor:

BR AND CARD

what strategy post Covid?

Malaysia’s "most developed state" claims to lead the way

with post-Covid tourism strategy

The Honourable

Hee Loy Sian

Chairman of Standing

Committees of Tourism,

Environment, Green Technology

and Orang Asli Affairs of Selangor

State, Malaysia

The Malaysian state of Selangor has a number of wonderful attractions

for visitors. But how has the state’s strategy changed in light of

the Covid-19 crisis? We put the question to the Honourable Hee

Loy Sian, Chairman of the Standing Committees of Tourism,

Environment and Green Technology of Selangor State, and

Azrul Shah Bin Mohamad, General Manager of Tourism

Selangor.

Hee Loy Sian: Selangor’s

position as the mostdeveloped

State in

Malaysia puts us in a

special position. This

is especially so when

it comes to strategies

for building future

economic stimulus

packages, especially

related to tourism,

in order to further

support the industry

and its players in

2021. Tourism Selangor

recently introduced

a domestic tourism

promotional campaigns:

“Eager to Travel? Pusing

Selangor Dulu!” and “Round

Selangor First!” At the same

time, targeting international

audiences, the “Splendid

Selangor, Take Me Anywhere”

campaign is geared towards

further-positioning Selangor on

the global map. We have been

running this international campaign

on digital platforms and across all

of Tourism Selangor’s social media

accounts. All the campaigns direct

online users to Tourism Selangor’s

official and revamped website, Selangor.

Travel, the preferred online directory for

Selangor tourism.

What new initiatives are being

launched?

Azrul Shah Bin Mohamad:

Acknowledging the power of digital

content, Tourism Selangor will engage

in an influencer marketing campaign

with Malaysian key opinion leaders

later in Q2, 2021. With overwhelming

responses received from the first

initiative in January, Tourism Selangor

is looking into future opportunities to

collaborate with more e-commerce

and booking engine platforms in 2021,

with a focus on boosting tourism in

the State and rebuilding the industry.

Tourism Selangor is also committed to

offering new experiences to travellers,

including its latest Selangor’s Virtual

Reality Travel Experience. VR videos will

feature all of Selangor’s nine Districts,

providing extra edge and allowing

future travellers to virtually experience

Selangor ahead of their travel to the

State. We are working on strengthening

Selangor’s tourism branding, which in

return encourages State development,

as well as enhancing infrastructure and

tourism facilities

Mr Azrul Shah

Bin Mohamad

General Manager,

Tourism Selangor, Malaysia

THE EVOLUTION OF

SELANGOR’S SOURCE MARKETS

Selangor’s main travel market

in Quarter 1, 2021 was of course

the domestic market. However,

Malaysia is planning to expand its

tourism capacity post-Covid by

seriously considering the “travel

bubble” notion. With recent positive

developments concerning Covid-19

vaccines, borders will hopefully

open soon - first to Southeast

Asian countries, before gradually

expanding to other countries with

low numbers of Covid-19 cases.

This creates an opportunity for

Tourism Selangor to keep pace with

evolving travel demand and paves

the way for the DMO in planning its

marketing strategy based on current

developments in tourism. During the

recovery phase, Tourism Selangor

is leveraging all possibilities and

opportunities, focusing on ensuring

the sustainably of Selangor’s tourism

industry players in these tough times

TOURISM SELANGOR

@ ITB BERLIN NOW

Tourism Selangor is leveraging ITB Berlin NOW

2021 as a platform to virtually meet potential

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clients for whom Malaysia is a preferred travel destination, or

those merely wishing to find more information on Selangor’s

tourism products.

Selangor is also open to collaborating with European media and

travel agencies on future Fam Tour plans to Selangor when travel

bans have been lifted. The DMO’s participation in ITB Berlin

NOW 2021 is a way of giving global exposure to Selangor’s

tourism products providing opportunities to the State’s tourism

industry players to market their products and travel packages to

the international travel sector

20 ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I REGION I ASIA I

Noredah Othman

General Manager

Sabah Tourism Board

The spectacular

Borneo Convention

Centre Kuching has

been carrying out

major upgrades,

introducing state of

the art audio-visual

technology to its

repertoire

Sarawak - the ultimate

"bleisure" destination

in SE Asia

Community-based

tourism drives new

interest in Sabah

The Malaysian state of Sabah is back under the spotlight, as

wild, untouched places increasingly appeal to travellers. We

asked Noredah Othman, General Manager, Sabah Tourism

Board, to give us an update on the destination.

Sabah’s Community Based

Tourism (CBT) has been growing.

This is timely, as Sabah receives

a large number of return visitors,

so it is necessary for the state to

provide new options to explore

Sabah beyond the commercial

and well-developed tourism sites.

CBT has, in essence, broughtin

something new for visitors in

addition to providing economic

growth in the state’s interior

areas. Meanwhile, for the Business

Events segment, the Sabah

International Convention Centre

opened its doors in February

2020. The facility, located within

the perimeter of the Kota Kinabalu

city centre can host up to 5,000

delegates.

The Covid crisis has made people

more aware of the environment

and sustainable tourism. Will this

be an advantage for Sabah in

Post-Covid times?

Environmental awareness and

sustainability have been pivotal

subjects even prior to Covid. For

example, the world-renowned

diving site, Sipadan, is to be

closed for one month every

December in order to allow time

for restoration. The number of

climbers allowed on Mt Kinabalu

has also been reduced. And along

the Kinabatangan river, where

the forest has been fragmented,

the Sabah State Government has

begun the process of reclaiming

the land and creating an improved

corridor for the migration of wildlife

as they move along the riverbank.

Your message to the world?

Sabahan Hospitality is undeniably

apparent to most visitors, with

residents taking increasing pride

in preserving their culture through

the initiatives of Community Based

Tourism and homestays, or by

showcasing their handicrafts. We

are eagerly waiting for our borders

to reopen so we can once again

welcome visitors to experience our

Enchanting Sabah

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While Sarawak’s key internal destinations such as state

capital Kuching, or Gunung Mulu National Park, are generally

well known among travel professionals, this year at ITB

Berlin NOW, one can discover the fascination region of Sibu.

Sibu is the best place from which

to explore Sarawak’s central

region, to experience the unique

culture, adventure, nature, food

and festivals (the five main themes

promoted state-wide by Sarawak

Tourism) in store for visitors.

especially the first timer through

the four-day “Sibu Swan City Tour”.

Sibu is a must-go place for

foodies. And those looking for a

little more excitement can take

a ride in fast passenger boats to

remote areas of the Rajang river -

the longest in Malaysia, and home

to the locals living right next to the

jungle inhabited by exotic animals.

The Rajang is a source of constant

activity, with oceangoing vessels

manoeuvring delicately between

speeding express boats, battered

river launches and tiny sampans.

It is best to book a room with a

river view, to take-in the sights and

sounds of the bustling waterfront,

and the Rajang sunset can be truly

spectacular.

SARAWAK LAUNCHES

SMARTGUIDE

As a valuable resource for travel

professionals around the world, Sarawak

Tourism Board has commissioned a

comprehensive SMARTguide: A veritable

"decision-making tool" for the travel

professional, delivering important

destination news and new ideas when it

comes to planning travel to this place.

Click on the image to read this SMARTguide,

or find it at the end of this e-magazine!

BUSINESS EVENTS

SARAWAK

One of Sarawak’s unique selling

points is the fusion of business with

the promise of culture, adventure,

nature, food and festivals. Theme

parties are a favourite among

corporate meetings & incentive

groups such as the Rainforest

Music Festival and Kuching

Waterfront Jazz Festival.

Business Events Sarawak

is a destination marketing

organisation that focuses on

bringing corporate incentives

& meetings, conventions and

exhibitions to Sarawak. A nonprofit

organisation funded by the

Sarawak Government, it acts as a

one stop shop advising on hosting

and organising national and

international business events

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ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021 21


I REGION I ASIA I

TOKYO STEPS OUT

IN 2021

Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau has

painted a dynamic (but very safe) image of

Tokyo in the “new normal”, in an ITB Berlin

NOW press conference.

A spokesperson for the convention bureau gave a

virtual tour, outlining current hotel conditions, outdoor

entertainment, nature, rich islands and the Tama area,

to the west of Tokyo. From sushi to Japanese bars and

fusion cuisine, Tokyo is now globally renowned as a

foodie city, with a culture melding the ancient traditions

and modern style.

As Tokyo prepares for the delayed summer Olympics,

health and safety at events is a top priority: “We will

introduce new facilities for the event, outline of the rules

that will allow each and every one of us to contribute

to safe and successful events,”

said the spokesperson, while also

presenting the new-look Shibuya

metro station – set to be a new icon

of Tokyo.

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Ms Kimarli

Fernando

Chairperson,

Sri Lanka Tourism

© Heshan Perera / Unsplash

Staying safe in Tokyo

style - in Shibuya

Sri Lanka introduces

the “bio bubble”

While all destinations puzzle over

how to weigh-up whether to keep

borders closed, quarantine, or

open up to limited visits, Sri Lanka

has come up with an alternative

solution.

According to Kimarli Fernando -

Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism, German

tourists are keen to return to the island

state: “12% of the arrivals since 21st

January to date has been recorded from

Germany and we have seen a special

interest towards wellness and Ayurveda”

This novel concept, launched on 21 January,

allows tourists to travel the country in “bio

bubbles,” or roving semi-isolated groups

that let travellers sightsee without mixing

with the local population. And after two

weeks, the visitors are free to roam at will.

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22 ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I REGION I BAVARIA I

REGENSBURG WILL PLAY

HOST TO THE BAVARIAN

STATE EXHIBITION 2021

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Bayern Tourismus Marketing

takes on management role

Over the past year, Bayern Tourismus Marketing GmbH

(BayTM) has evolved from a state-wide marketing organisation

into a management organisation.

Bavaria Tourism celebrated its 20th

anniversary in 2020. It was formed in

2000 as an initiative of the Bavarian

Ministry of Economic Affairs in

response to growing national and

international competition in tourism.

Since then has been marketing the

entire tourism and leisure industry

both at home and abroad. It is

supported by 28 partners from all

areas of tourism in Bavaria.

The creation of BayTM helped

to develop the strong umbrella

brand “Bayern” (Bavaria), Over

the years, theme and niche quality

brands have been added such as

Kinderland and Sightsleeping.

More recently, BayTM also worked

with the Bavarian Spa Association

to set new standards in medical

health tourism under the Gesundes

Bayern (Healthy Bavaria) brand.

“Bavaria is an amalgam of vibrant

cities and exceptional natural

landscapes, deeply rooted customs

and modern interpretations of

ancient traditions,” says Barbara

Radomski, Managing Director

of BayTM, adding, “Just as

Bavaria combines these apparent

contradictions to create a unique

experience, we at Bayern Tourismus

Marketing GmbH also bring together

major players in the Bavarian and

international travel industry, who

may not otherwise have crossed

paths. With our final evolution last

year from a state-wide marketing

organisation to a state-wide

management organisation, we gave

networking an even higher priority”,

adds Radomski.

“Our new department of Networking

and Partner Management provides

targeted support to our business

partners - at a regional, national and

international level - to help them

build up contacts and cooperations

with the Bavarian tourist industry.

We have a clear conviction:

networks thrive on members who

seek interaction. And that also

makes them successful in the long

term.”

PLUNGE INTO

THE "TWILIGHT OF

THE GODS II - THE LAST

MONARCHS", BAVARIAN

STATE EXHIBITION

The Bavarian State Exhibition

2021 "Twilight of the Gods II

- The Last Monarchs" will be

hosted in the World Heritage

City of Regensburg. It follows

the 2011 exhibition "Twilight of

the Gods: King Ludwig II" in

Herrenchiemsee. The exhibition

takes place in the House of

Bavaria History from June 23,

2021 to January 16, 2022. It

explores, through eight sections,

the destinies of the last European

monarchs - Empress Elisabeth

of Austria, Bavaria's King Ludwig

III, Emperor Wilhelm II and

the Russian Czar - before the

revolution of 1918.

ADVERTORIAL

TAUBER VALLEY:

ENJOY THE CULTURE

AND CULINARY

DELIGHTS

The Tauber Valley region offers a lot, from hiking

paths to vineyards, from local cuisine to culture and

medieval history; but cycling is a de facto strong

point with some 2,200km of trails.

One of Germany's most beautiful cycling routes

is “Lovely Tauber Valley”: the Tauber Valley cycle

path between Rothenburg ob der Tauber and

Wertheim on the River Main. Here, e-bikes can be

hired with the possibility to re-charge them at over

85 stations.

The stages of this 100-kilometre long path are

between 30 and 40 kilometres long, and largely

flat, meaning that hobby cyclists

and families can also enjoy

themselves

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© Peter Frischmuth/ argus

ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021 23


I SPECIAL FEATURE I NATURE TOURISM I

© photography Sergej Zabijako, © NTO – Montenegro, 2017

© CWS

Dr Harald

Marencic

Deputy Executive

Secretary, Wadden Sea

World Heritage

NTO Montenegro

launches new

global campaign

"Nature & Me" puts the natural

environment first in a digital world

The National Tourism Organisation of Montenegro (NTO

Montenegro) has launched a new global campaign to

showcase the natural environment of the country, bringing

to life the relationship between nature and people and

showcasing its importance in a restrictive digital world.

Inspiring travel to Montenegro, when possible, "Nature &

Me" focuses on the need for people to embrace nature as a

break from the virtual world we have been forced to live in

before and during the pandemic.

“The months behind us were

a challenge, but also a lesson.

Maybe it’s time to look with fresh

eyes at the world around us.

Maybe it’s time to disconnect from

some old digital habits and remind

ourselves that man and nature are

inextricably linked. The freedom

provided by the pristine natural

beauty of Montenegro is a must for

any traveller and we welcome you

to be in the company of nature.”

Located on the Balkan Peninsula,

this is a country that has long been a

melting pot of cultures, civilisations

and religions. Surrounded by

natural beauty, Montenegro offers

big experiences in a small and

accessible environment. From the

Montenegrin hills to the beauty of

the Adriatic Coast, nature reserves

and national parks, caves and

canyons, to 117 beaches along a

coastline over 180 miles long, all

are embraced by the caring faces

of locals and traditional hospitality.

Tourism accounted for 32% of

GDP in 2019 when Montenegro

welcomed 2.5 mil. travellers to the

country, an increase of 20% year

on year

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Lake Skadar

Wadden Sea -

UNESCO World

Heritage on

our doorstep

The Wadden Sea is the largest tidal flats system in the world,

where natural processes proceed largely undisturbed.

It extends along the coasts of Denmark, Germany and

the Netherlands. We asked Dr Harald Marencic, Deputy

Executive Secretary, Wadden Sea World Heritage, to tell us

why this place is so special.

For its globally unique geological

and ecological values, the

Wadden Sea is inscribed on

the UNESCO “World Heritage”

list. Nowhere else in the world can

one find such a coherent unbroken

sand- and mudflat system. It

is a dynamic landscape with a

multitude of habitats, shaped by

wind and tides. Global biodiversity

is reliant on the Wadden Sea, most

obvious for birds, and species

living there must adapt to everchanging

weather conditions.

How is it possible to combine

environment protection and

tourism growth? How do you work

to reach a balance between both?

It seems contradictory, but we

try to show that it is possible to

protect natural resources and

develop sustainable tourism.

Growth must be sustainable,

which means we strive for quality

and not for quantity. Wadden Sea

nature is extremely fragile, and we

work hard for the protection of the

area. The Wadden Sea generates

55 million overnights per year with

the summer being a real challenge

as capacities are full. We are

now pushing to attract visitors

in spring and autumn, at a time

where migratory birds settle. This

provides an opportunity to create

educational packages around

winged migrations.

Could you tell more about the

Prowad PROWAD Link Project?

What is the time frame? Which

countries are involved, and how

does cooperation work?

The PROWAD Link Interreg Project

aims to unlock the potential of

natural areas as a driver for jobs

and sustainable development.

We particularly work with small

and medium sized enterprises

to enable them to integrate

the Wadden Sea brand in their

business model creating benefits

for both SMEs and the nature.

Partners in Denmark, Germany,

the Netherlands, Norway and

the United Kingdom work with

selected SMEs around a “naturebusiness-benefit-cycle”

concept.

The programme officially ends

next year, but we are already

working on a structure to take over

the task

Read more

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24 ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I SPECIAL FEATURE I GASTRONOMY & WINE TOURISM I

Slovenia to promote

“green gastronomy” in 2021

ADVERTORIAL

© Povrce NTOS

With Slovenia named “European Region

of Gastronomy” 2021, the country’s

tourism board is promoting the unique

selling points of its regional cuisine.

Slovenia combines a rich natural larder and

historic food traditions with influences spanning

Italy in the west, Austria in the north and Hungary

and Croatia to the east. Pair this with worldclass

chefs, a new Michelin guide and world

leading wines, and you begin to understand why

Slovenia is one of Europe’s most exciting new

culinary capitals.

The unique advantage of Slovenian chefs is

their privileged access to local ingredients.

Their culinary philosophy is based on the

principle from the “garden to table” and this is

a philosophy reflected in the close relationships

between chefs and local producers, as well

as the deep connections between Slovenian

landscapes and traditional culinary experiences.

NEW SLOVENIAN GREEN CUISINE

LABEL ANNOUNCED

To further underpin Slovenia’s dedication to

green gastronomy at all levels, the Slovenian

Tourist Board are announcing a new ‘Slovenian

Green Cuisine’ label which will become part

of the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism. It

is a certification programme that celebrates

the destinations and service providers placing

sustainability at the core of their activities

Read more

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Gastronomy is another motivation to discover the various regions of Serbia

SERBIA

HIGHLIGHTS ITS

DIVERSITY AS

AN "EPICUREAN"

DESTINATION AT

ITB BERLIN NOW

Serbia is hot... or in any case, its

cuisine is! The nation is stepping

out at ITB Berlin NOW as a veritable

paradise for food-lovers.

An eruption

of flavour

Serbian cuisine is rich and diverse due to its

multicultural history. Serbian flavours are very

specific and influenced by the way dishes

are prepared. Authentic dishes vary from

one region to another, meaning gastronomy

plays an important role in highlighting lesserknown

internal destinations to travellers.

Favourite foods in the north are mainly

dough-based, like bread and noodles; in

central Serbia, people crave for pies and

roast pork; the west prefers cured meats

and lamb dishes, while Eastern Serbia

enjoys, lamb boiled in milk, polenta and dry

shepherds’ pies.

For travellers looking for something

completely different when it comes

to wine tourism, nothing can beat

Lanzarote, Spain.

Vine-growing on the island is an impressive

example of sustainability and adaptation to

the natural conditions. The vineyards grown

on volcanic sands constitute a startling and

fascinating scene: a beautiful landscape which

would become a work of art in 1964 in the

exhibition of photographs “Architecture without

Architects” at MoMA New York.

A visit to any of the Lanzarote's wineries brings

up many other curiosities about wine production

on the island. For example, all the work has to be

done by hand, because the planting system does

not allow for mechanisation and irrigation. And

there are two forms of cultivation, in pits and in

trenches, which are both equally ingenious and

original.

The visit also gives the opportunity to enjoy

the different wine varieties made on Lanzarote.

Malvasía wines are traditional, mainly white,

although there are some reds and rosés

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In the south, dining tables are laden with

roasted meats served with typical vegetables

of the region, while people of Kosovo and

Metohija have a taste for bungur, pirjanice

and succulent lamb and mutton dishes. Not

to forget the sarma, stuffed cabbage rolls

eaten all across Serbia during festivities.

Today, wine growing in Serbia is experiencing

a renaissance, as old vineyards are replanted

and new ones are emerging, while

small family-run wineries have protected

designated origins. The production remains

limited, in only eight regions, but with dozens

of different grape varieties.

Last but not least, it is difficult not

to start or finish a meal without

tasting the rakija, a brandy

that tourists can even learn to

produce themselves

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ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021 25


I SPECIAL FEATURE I GASTRONOMY & WINE TOURISM I

ADVERTORIAL

@VisitSanMarino

ITALY

The land

of countless

flavours

Italy’s fabulous cuisine is one

of the main reasons to visit

Travelling around Italy is a mindboggling

culinary journey. It might

suffice to remember the film “Eat,

Pray, Love”, the real-life story of Liz

Gilbert (played by Julia Roberts) and

her journey to self-fulfilment, where

her indulgence in Italian cuisine had an

incredible curative effect. Each region’s

culinary specialties are part of their soul,

and essential to the experience of any

traveller, proven by the fact that tourists

on holiday in Italy spend a third of their

budget on food and typical products, for

a total of 26 billion euros. Here are just a

few highlights.

ABRUZZO

FROM AGRO-PASTORAL

DELICACIES TO SEAFOOD

SPECIALTIES

With Mediterranean ingredients and aromas,

characterised by the flavours of the earth and

the mountains, Abruzzo cuisine stands out for

its ability to be both poor and noble, magnificent

in its simplicity. Flavours here are the expression

of a land rich in biodiversity, between vineyards

and olive groves as far as the eye can see,

producing quality wines and olive oil. One of

the most famous and best-loved specialities

of the region is the Abruzzese arrosticini, lamb

skewers typical of the Apennines. Delectable

cheeses, such as caciotta and mozzarella are

produced in Abruzzo. All this, along with the

region’s renowned wines, olive oils and of course

the local saffron, make it a food lover’s paradise.

EMILIA ROMAGNA

WHERE VISITORS CAN LEARN THE

CHEF’S SECRETS

Emilia Romagna is home to a number of cooking

schools, offering guests the opportunity to

hand-make and fill pasta, and learn all about

the DOP products of the region. Many cooking

schools are located in the picturesque hills

and plains surrounding the major towns of the

region and guests can sleep overnight in the

farms, following the hearty dinner that they have

created. Guests can embark on a trip through

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I SPECIAL FEATURE I GASTRONOMY & WINE TOURISM I

the picturesque countryside and art

cities of the region, along the ancient

Roman Road, known as the Via Emilia,

to sample every culinary delight from

the bubbly Lambrusco and Traditional

Balsamic Vinegar in Modena to the

nutty Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

in Reggio Emilia and the sweet

prosciutto ham in Parma.

PUGLIA

A STORY OF SEASONS,

BIODIVERSITY, AND TOP-

QUALITY INGREDIENTS

It’s all about originality. Polignano a

Mare, the area between Fasano and

Bari, boasts the world’s highest rate

of consumption of raw fish. This dish

is revisited in a unique Japanese/

Apulian version. So begins the

culinary revolution of the new Puglia

– a revolution enjoyed elsewhere in

the world, where the panzerotto, the

typical fried dough filled with tomato

sauce and mozzarella, has become a

street-food must.

Food is a serious thing in Puglia, as

shown by the long series of gourmet

events throughout the year. Some are

original, like Libando, in May, a major

national event dedicated to quality

street food in the heart of Foggia;

others are historical, like the “open

wine cellars” in late May.

PIEDMONT

WHERE TRADITION MEETS

CREATIVITY

From traditional trattorias to

historic cafes and 46 Michelinstar

restaurants, Piemonte is the

birthplace of “Slow Food”, the

international organization founded in

Bra, province of Cuneo in 1986 to

promote and protect “good, clean and

fair” food. The quality of the produce is

exceptional: chocolate and hazelnut,

rice cultivated in the vastest rice fields

of Europe, exquisite artisan cheeses,

including the alpine Toma and

Bettelmatt, as well as Castelmagno,

Robiola di Murazzano, Bra, Ossolano

and the famous Gorgonzola. In the

region where vermouth was born,

there are 18,000 wine cellars, with

a treasure of 18 DOCG and 41 DOC

wines (many of which produced in

the "Vineyard Landscapes of Langhe

Roero and Monferrato" UNESCO).

SAN MARINO

A LAND OF FINE TASTES

Over the years, the Republic of San

Marino has preserved a rich and

varied gastronomic tradition highly

appreciated all over the world. Among

the products of the Consorzio Terra

di San Marino, which safeguards the

smaller agricultural producers in San

Marino, there are wines, meat, extra

virgin olive oil, cheese, honey and

the delicious Tre Monti and Titano

cakes, handmade in San Marino since

1942. Fresh pasta is one of the most

authentically traditional dishes of

San Marino. Tagliatelle, pappardelle,

stringhetti and tagliolini were and

continue to be served with meat

sauce, sausage, peas, sea campion

(plants collected from the fields),

beans and game.

TUSCANY

KEEPING IT SIMPLE

Tuscan cooking is characterised

by simple food, without heavy

sauces. Cooking is done with olive

oil, which is also used as a salad

dressing, poured over bread, or

added to soups and stews. Beans are

a staple. Sage, rosemary and basil

are popular spices. To exalt tastes,

on Tuscan tables, extra virgin olive oil

is always present. Here, visitors will

find the beans of sorana, ricciarelli of

siena, lardo of colonnata, chestnuts

from the mountains around Pistoia;

not forgetting cheese, honey and cold

cuts, or the boar of maremma, the

beef of chianina, calvana or mucco

pisano cattle and the certified organic

products. Bistecca alla Fiorentina –

an Italian veal or heifer steak – is one

of the most popular dishes of Tuscan

cuisine.

TRENTINO

A VINEYARD WITH A VIEW

Trentino has the perfect proposal

for autumn weekends: a chance to

experience the rituals of the grape

harvest up close and learn about

the stories, traditions and culture of

winemaking in the mountains. The

wineries of Trentino are special places

where visitors can discover the stories

of the region's winemakers and taste

great tipples. In Trentino, agriculture

has forged a strong bond between

mankind and the environment,

creating a virtuous relationship that

has given rise to a diverse ecosystem

of carefully tended landscapes dotted

with small vineyard plots. There is

a selection of wineries in Trentino,

famous for Trentodoc or Teroldego

Rotaliano spumante, that are open

to visitors, but some also offer the

unique experience to stay overnight.

BASILICATA

A BEAUTIFUL DISCOVERY

FOR FOOD LOVERS

The cuisine of this region is a delightful

explosion of genuine flavours, spicy

scents and vibrant colours; traditional

Lucanian dishes are increasingly

appreciated in the food and wine

industry and can be found not only

in Italy, but also all around the world.

From traditional hand-made pasta to

meats - mostly lamb, goat, pork and

veal - from flavoursome vegetables,

used in many recipes, to colourful and

scented fruits, the other great regional

speciality flourishing in the immense

citrus groves found throughout the

region.

Another typical dish of Lucanian

gastronomy is baccalà, dried saltcured

fish used in different recipes

and best enjoyed with the famous

crusco peppers of Senise, which bear

the protected geographical indication

label (IGP).

CAMPANIA

WHERE CUISINE REFLECTS

AN EVENTFUL HISTORY

Campania has a long and eventful

history. Here, several civilisations

and cultures came and went, each

leaving traces on the region’s art,

architecture and culture, but also

its cuisine. The Campania Region

is the first in Southern Italy for

traditional certified food and wine

production. This is the homeland of

pizza, mozzarella, espresso coffee,

white Falanghina wine, red Aglianico

wine and Limoncello, just to mention

a few. The Mediterranean Diet was

conceived in the Cilento area, and the

“Art of the Neapolitan Pizzaiolo” is on

the Unesco World Heritage list.

Flavours and colours of raw

ingredients here have for thousands

of years been equated with the

Campanian sunshine. Wine Trails

have been established throughout the

region: these lead to wineries open

to the public, vineyards, traditional

restaurants and handicraft shops

and allow visitors to sample typical

products both in historic towns and

amidst the beauty of the natural

environment

VISIT

BRAND CAR D

1. Abruzzo's saffron is

grown in a unique soil

and climate which can be

tasted in the spice

2. White Alba Truffle and

Black truffle: don't miss

it when you come to

Piemonte

3. Grottaglie - nonna

Chiarina preparing

orecchiette

4. Parmigiano Reggiano

cheese

1.

2.

3.

4.

© Giorgio Perottino/Getty Images

© Emilia Romagna Turismo © Carlos Solito

© G. Perottino - VisitPiemonte - GettyImages

ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021 27


I SPECIAL FEATURE I CRUISES I

Cruise industry

© Geiranger, Norway - by Damir Spanic / Unsplash

trends

Riding a new wave

towards success

NORWAY'S FJORDS WILL SOON

ONLY BE OPEN TO "ZERO

CARBON" SHIPS

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I SPECIAL FEATURE I CRUISES I

For years, the cruise industry went full speed ahead—until the pandemic

caused a sudden stand-still on all the world’s oceans. With the help

of innovative concepts and new boats, cruise operators now want to

steer out of the crisis and safely circumnavigate future hurdles. Cruise

expert Jörg Bertram traces these new trends.

Already in the 1950s, the cruising world

was in crisis. But it wasn’t due to a

global pandemic. Instead, it was the

advent of large passenger airplanes that

connected continents in a matter of hours

and doomed the ocean liners. But even

that crisis harboured an opportunity,

giving rise to the modern cruise industry.

Today, a strong wind is blowing again,

with necessary course corrections in its

wake so that the industry can steer a

clear path towards success.

THE FUTURE OF CRUISING - FIVE TRENDS AND

DEVELOPMENTS POINTING THE WAY AHEAD

CRUISING IS BECOMING

MORE SUSTAINABLE

From the outlawed plastic straw at the

bar on the highest deck to the heavy

oil free hybrid propulsion system deep

down in the belly of the ship: the topic

of sustainability will play an increasingly

prominent role in the coming years. On

the one hand, this is because it is only a

small step from the already widespread

“flight shaming” to the still rather exotic

“cruise shaming.” On the other hand, it

is also due to the increasingly stringent

requirements of the environmental

authorities. For example, only fuels with

a maximum sulphur content of 0.1% may

be burned in all ports in the European

Union and in all protected areas

declared as “Emission Control Areas”

(ECA). One of the pioneers in green

cruising is the Norwegian expedition

and mail ship operator Hurtigruten.

They not only launched the world’s first

hybrid expedition ships, but also banned

all single-use plastic products from the

ship, reduced food waste by more than

20%, and have involved crew and guests

in collecting waste during landings.

These efforts are matched by another

commitment from the far north: Starting

in 2026, Norway will allow only electricity

or hydrogen-powered ships into its

fjords. Operators who do not achieve

zero emissions will have to stay outside

the fjords—and will probably have to

cross off the extremely profitable route

to the North Cape from their itinerary.

RIVERS ARE THE NEW

OCEANS

Aficionados of small, well-designed

boats have a choice between majestic

rivers such as the Rhine, the Danube,

the Douro, the Volga, and the Mekong.

While river cruises had a reputation for

mainly attracting senior citizens until a

few years ago, they have now become

the biggest growth market on the water.

New ships with spacious spa areas, onboard

bikes for shore excursions, and

special offers for families, golfers, and

gourmets are now drawing younger

clients. They have become an emblem of

the current zeitgeist and are attracting

new target groups on city-country-river

routes.

LUXURY EXPEDITIONS

TO THE END OF THE WORLD

No fewer than 52 new expedition cruise

ships were under construction at the end

of 2019. Upon completion—and after the

pandemic—most of them will be taking

their maiden voyage to Antarctica,

the Arctic Circle, the Amazon, and the

Andaman Sea. What else do they have

in common? The highest possible ice

class, environmentally friendly high-tech

engines and, in many cases, a pronounced

penchant for luxury. They may feature

helicopters for expeditions on land or

submarines for diving adventures as well

as suites that measure up to 200 m2 and

star-studded gourmet restaurants. With

this kind of equipment and services, long

expeditions will become more popular in

the near future.

CLOSED DUE TO

OVERCROWDING:

STRATEGIES AGAINST OVER-

TOURISM

In 2019, around 30 million cruise

passengers travelled on all of the

world’s seas, visiting hundreds of ports.

About the same number of travellers

also visited Venice in the same year.

Surprisingly, only 5% of them were cruise

ship passengers. It is therefore shortsighted

to blame only the cruise industry

for over-tourism in the lagoon city (and

some other ports). Nevertheless, overtourism—and

especially overcrowding—

are problems that also affect the cruise

industry and are in part caused by it.

For this reason, contracts limiting the

number of cruise operators permitted

to call at certain ports are currently

being discussed, as are extensions to

the high seasons for particularly popular

destinations that suffer from extreme

visitor peaks, especially during a few

weeks in summer.

SIZE MATTERS:

ALSO, FOR SHIPS

Mega-liner or mini-cruiser? So far, the

trend barometer has been swinging in

both directions. On the one hand, ships

were getting bigger and bigger, turning

into floating cities for more than 6,000

guests. On the other hand, demand for

small to medium-sized ships and yachts

for up to 200 passengers has been

rising, especially in the luxury sector.

The latter in particular are likely to be

a winning strategy after the pandemic

subsides, as Julian Pfitzner, the new CEO

of the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises brand, has

confirmed: “Small, exclusive ships with

abundant personal space, exceptional

travel experiences, and excellent tailormade

services—that’s in our DNA. I am

sure that these assets will become even

more important in the future”

LAND EXCURSION

SEVERNAYA ZEMLYA -

KOLA TRAVEL PLC

ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021 29


I SPECIAL FEATURE I LUXURY ACCOMODATION & TRAVEL I

ADVERTORIAL

Italian style

© ph Veneto region

– it’s inimitable

In today’s world, style takes on new

meaning – and is more than ever a

symbol of “luxury”

Villa Arvedi

Verona - Veneto region

Nowhere in the world does “style” have the same meaning as in Italy. Here, style comes

naturally, and becomes part of the visitor’s immersive experience, creating a true feeling of

luxury in the real sense of the word.

Coastal scenery -

Campania

CAMPANIA

FAVOURED BY THE EMPERORS

Favourite destination by Roman emperors, patricians

and aristocrats, Campania with its villas, palaces,

historic masterpieces and breath-taking views never

ceases to enchant its visitors. Today the Amalfi Coast,

Sorrento and the Tyrrhenian islands are among the most

dreamed locations for exclusive and elegant holidays

in perfect “Made in Italy” lifestyle. Not forgetting that

Procida will be Italian Capital of Culture 2022.

BASILICATA

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR COPPOLA

“When you look at Basilicata you see fields, vineyards,

beautiful scenery. You see the earth as it was supposed

to be”, says Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola, one of

the most famous film-makers in the world today, has

origins in Basilicata: his grandfather- Agostino – was

born in Bernalda near Matera, the European Capital

of Culture 2019, and one of world's oldest cities.

Coppola often comes to Basilicata, saying he just loves

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ADVERTORIAL

I SPECIAL FEATURE I LUXURY ACCOMODATION & TRAVEL I

it, as he can walk around or drink

coffee in the local streets incognito.

Many Hollywood producers chose

Basilicata as the perfect setting for

their films. From “The Passion of the

Christ”, directed by Mel Gibson in

2004 to “No Time to Die” – the 25th

James Bond, more than 60 movies

have been shot in the region.

LOMBARDIA

HOME TO THE WORLD

CAPITAL OF STYLE

Milan, Lombardia’s key city, is

without doubt the world capital

of “Made in Italy” style, a meeting

point for millions of tourists every

year, attracted by the glamour

and exclusive names of the most

important fashion designers. An area

in the heart of Milan, bordered by

Via Manzoni, Via della Spiga, Corso

Venezia and Via Montenapoleone,

is known worldwide as the Fashion

District. Here one can see the latest

prêt-à-porter collections and take

a dive into the past thanks to the

historic shops that are still located

here. The Golden Quadrilateral is

also home to many leading fashion

events. Among the most important,

Vogue Fashion's Night Out, held

in September in conjunction with

Fashion Week.

PUGLIA

FOR THE DISCERNING

TRAVELLER

Puglia combines a penchant for

lavishness with an extraordinary

historical heritage, delivering topnotch

locations set in splendid

settings, for the discerned traveller

looking for exclusive services.

Puglian accommodation satisfies

every special need. The region

boasts no less than 36 5-star

or 5-star extra luxury hotels in

exclusive historic buildings, luxury

villas in the countryside, and old

farms converted into charming

residences. The region offers crystal

clear waters and fine sandy bays,

cliffs overlooking the sea, and a

countryside dotted with vineyards,

expanses of olive groves, towns with

ancient traditions and UNESCO

World Heritage sites, castles and

cathedrals, dolmens and menhirs,

historic villages, caves, manor

houses, museums and icons of

archaeology. The exceptional

Puglian hospitality, the enviable food

and wine tradition of the region and

the Italian taste for elegance are the

ingredients that create a memorable

stay.

TUSCANY

BEHIND THE WHEEL OF A

MAGNIFICENT MACHINE

Lands and cars, cities and men,

engineers and mechanics, towns and

stories are told and frozen in time.

Describing Tuscany as seen through

the windows of a car, captured in the

driving mirrors, lit by the headlights

of a Spider means talking about the

land where the spark-ignition engine

was invented, where the pioneers of

car racing were forged and where

the great champions were born.

True luxury, for many, lies in taking

Beautiful reflections in a

Milan shop window

the wheel of a classic Italian car

and following the traces of the Mille

Miglia – the world’s “most beautiful

race”.

Since its relaunch as a classic car

rally in 1977, the “Mille Miglia storica”

has been held annually with special

stages since its tragic end in 1957.

Today, showcasing unique race cars

means more than speed at one of

the most important and beautiful

stages in the history of motorsports.

“La corsa più bella del mondo” – the

most beautiful race in the world –

takes place every year around mid-

May and attracts celebrities as well

as gear heads from all over the world.

VENETO

THE LAP OF LUXURY

EXPERIENCES

With experiences designed to

encourage the international market

to explore the vast array of diverse

attractions from Venice to the

Dolomites, from the river Brenta to the

hills of Treviso, Padua, Vicenza and

Verona up to the Lake Garda, visitors

are able to explore the rich cultural

legacy and history in exploring the

Veneto region from an entirely new

and different perspective.

Historic buildings and gardens open

to those who may even already be

familiar with Veneto, but who may

perhaps also like to experience it

from a different angle through the

splendour and pomp of the stately

homes built with the foundation of

the Most Serene Republic of Venice.

The unique architectural and artistic

offering showcases the Ville Venete

many of which were built between the

fifteenth and eighteenth centuries,

when Venice shifted its attention and

political and economic influence to

its immediate hinterland. Among

the leading figures of this era were

architects of the calibre of Andrea

Palladio, Vincenzo Scamozzi and

Gerolamo Frigimelica.

This extraordinary heritage

features 24 Palladian villas, named

UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and

monumental buildings scattered

throughout the Veneto region

(approximately 3,400 of them), 140

of which have joined a specific

"Service Charter" to guarantee top

quality facilities. The villas have

been converted into charming hotels

offering luxury accommodation for

unique holidays and the perfect

location for wedding and romantic

events.

Meanwhile, also known as “The city

of Gold”, Vicenza is a worldwide gold

capital, with an age-old tradition in

© Olga Serjantu / Unsplash

Driving in

the Mille Miglia

the gold and jewellery sector thanks

to the sapient hands of its craftsmen

and manufacturers and the

refined and elegant design of their

productions. Here, big fashion brand

names producing casual wear, or

specialised in luxury fashion as well

as handbags, shoes, accessories,

jewellery and fragrances all abound

© Massimo Virgilio / Unsplash

Why not charter a boat

to sail along the Puglia

coast?

VISIT

BRAND CAR D

ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021 31


I SPECIAL FEATURE I GOLF TOURISM I

Italy, the other home

of golfers

"Golfing along Italian gulfs": What sounds like a song

is a fantastic idea for an Italian holiday with hundreds

of courses waiting for golf fans.

VISIT

With its mild climate and all year-round playability, Italy is a great destination

to pick for a golf holiday. The nation boasts a tremendous array of luxury

accommodation options and a golfing experience as good as its European

neighbours, but its fairways aren’t anywhere near as busy. Following are just

some ideas for enthustiasts and amateurs alike.

BRAND CAR D

EMILIA ROMAGNA

ONE UNIQUE GREEN FEE FOR

25 GOLF COURSES

Emilia Romagna is a year-round golf destination, thanks to 23

magnificent championship courses - 13 of them with 18 holes,

two with 27 holes- located close to one another and ready to

welcome guests 365 days a year.

It is not only the combination of sunny days, manicured greens

combined with historical cities, pristine landscapes, the

maritime romance of the Adriatic and exciting gastronomy. A

very special experience is Antico Borgo di Tabiano Castello in

Salsomaggiore Terme near Parma. Golfers can play within the

sight of an authentic medieval castle.

Emilia-Romagna offers a special incentive for golf players:

visitors need only pay one green fee for all of 25 of its fantastic

courses, just 20 minutes away from each other by car. This

means that in a whole month of holiday, a golfer can technically

experience the wonderful challenge of a new course every day.

A true paradise for golf enthusiasts

FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA

SEVEN GOLF COURSES IN

EXCEPTIONAL SURROUNDINGS

Friuli Venezia Giulia has seven 18-hole golf courses, located not

far from one another. This unparalleled choice makes it possible to

combine, in a small area, a wide range of landscapes and an array of

technical features.

Close to the sea one can find Lignano Golf Club which blends-in

perfectly with surrounding coastal pine woods. A key aspect of

Grado Golf Club is also water: in this case a lagoon. TriesteGolf Club

has a spectacular setting, high up on the Karst plateau overlooking

the city. Hole seventeen offers a stunning view of the enchanting Gulf

of Trieste. The Golf & Country Club Castello di Spessa is surrounded

by the hills and vineyards of the Collio area around Gorizia, at the

foot of a 13th century castle. Udine Golf Club’s eighteen holes are

also set in undulating terrain at the base of the Alps, near two lakes.

The Tarvisio Senza Confini Golf Club is also located in the midst of

the Julian Alps. Last is Golf Club Pordenone, located at the foot of the

Piancavallo mountains in a nature reserve.

But above all, between a putt and a drive, visitors will have the

opportunity to explore the wonderfully varied region of Friuli Venezia

Giulia with its multi-faceted history

The Riviera Golf Resort

near Rimini

Golf Club Lignano

32 ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021

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I SPECIAL FEATURE I GOLF TOURISM I

LOMBARDY GOLF

AT ITS BEST

Lombardy offers plenty of

opportunities to play golf

including 72 clubs.

The journey through the

various golf courses in the

region begins at the Golf

Clubs of Milan, passing by

the exclusive clubs on Lake

Como and finally on to the

gorgeous backdrops of Lake

Maggiore surrounded by

flowers and gardens. With

a special mediterranean

climate on Lake Garda, the

greens are open all year long

and offer beautiful views over

the largest lake in the country.

First class resorts like Palazzo

Arzaga in Calvagese della

Riviera and the Chervò Golf

San Vigilio in Pozzolengo

can be found in the area.

Meanwhile, over on Lake

Como, players can enjoy the

impeccable luxury hotel Villa

d’Este in Cernobbio with an

overnight stay and absolutely

incredible food. This is

Lombardy and its famed

Italian Dolce Vita!

PIEMONTE

TAKING LEADERSHIP IN ITALY'S

GOLF SCENE

Playing golf in Piemonte means

playing in a mosaic of beautiful

landscapes. From the Langhe, Roero

and Monferrato to Lake Maggiore,

from Torino and the Mountains to

Novara and Biella, Alessandria and

Asti, 57 top level clubs confirm

Piemonte's leadership in the Italian

golf scene.

The region has indeed 5 courses with

36 holes, 1 with 27 holes, 13with 18

holes, 21 with 9 holes and 17 practice

fields. Piemonte has five of the best

Italian golf circuits, considered an

ideal combination of beauty of the

landscape and technical values:

Le Betulle Biella, Royal Park and I

Roveri in Torino, Castelconturbia

and Bogogno.

It is no coincidence that Piemonte

has hosted 13 editions of the

prestigious Italia Open competition

since 1925. Many clubs offer

exceptional conditions, such as

Sestrieres, the highest golf course

in Europe at 2,035 meters, where a

cutting-edge indoor golf facility is

available in winter

Golf Club Villa Carolina

Bogliaco Golf Club

PUGLIA

GROWING IN POPULARITY

Puglia offers challenging new

courses in a region abounding

with archeological sites,

historical landmarks, nature

preserves, delectable food

and excellent wine. Puglia’s

five 18-hole and one 9-hole

golf courses vary in length,

character and challenge.

There is a wide choice of

sites. Barialto’s proximity

to the capital, Bari, makes it

convenient for urban visitors

to enjoy a morning game

through lush greens and royal

palms. Riva dei Tessali plays

through a shady, forested

area densely populated by tall

Aleppo pines. Acaya appears

vast, marked by cascading

water features along softlysculpted

grass fairways. San

Domenico hugs the Adriatic

and graces the grandeur

of its neighbouring resort,

Borgo Egnazia. Walking

through groves of ancient

trees on Coccaro’s pitch and

putt course enables golfers

to practice their skills in a

peaceful and historical land

of Puglia

TUSCANY

WHERE GOLF AND LUXURY

GO HAND-IN-HAND

Tuscany has two dozen golf

courses and a long tradition of

the sport. The very first modern

golf course was established by

the British community in Florence

in 1889, a few kilometres north

of the city. Time has passed and

Tuscany has, over the decades,

turned into a veritable golfer’s

paradise. There is not one single

corner of the region which does

not offer a great course. It is also

the right destination to combine

luxury and golf. In southern

Tuscany, the five-star Argentario

Resort Golf and Spa has its 18-

hole golf course was realised

by the famed architect David

Mezzacane in collaboration with

professional golf player Baldovino

Dassù. It is an eco-friendly golf

course, having received an “Agri

Cert” certification. Meanwhile, the

Castelfalfi Golf Club has also been

granted the GEO Certified ecolabel

San Domenico Golf

in Puglia

Argentario Golf Resort

ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021 33


I SPECIAL FEATURE I GOLF TOURISM I

VENETO

A GOLF ASSOCIATION AT THE

HEART OF GOLF PROMOTION

The Veneto Region is a timeless charming land spreading

out across the rippling contours of the Alps and the unique

landscapes of the Adriatic sea and Venice Lagoon. From

the Romantic Verona to the floating city of Venice with its

romantic streets and sumptuous palaces, from the distinctive

golf courses to the sunset overlooking the Dolomites, Golf In

Veneto offer endless opportunities for a perfect golf break in

Italy through its 18 golf courses and other 25 golf facilities.

The region just outside the city is called Venice’s Garden

where the Venetian nobility built their antique villas. This

area is also home to some of the most impressive golf Italy

has to offer, created by designers such as Arnold Palmer,

John Harris and Stan Eby. Golf Club Ca' della Nave is the first

Arnold Palmer in Italy inserted into the sixteenth-century

villa property immersed in one of the largest and most

important parks of the Veneto landscape.

Leaving Venice and heading inland to the recognizable Italian

town of Padua, combines golf in the renowned Golf Club

Padova, Golf Club Montecchia and Golf Club Frassanelle

with the opportunity to see this ancient city and to enjoy the

thermal water, enriched with mineral salts, that comes all the

way from the Alps.

Just to mention a few, Asiago Golf Club is considered one

of the most beautiful mountain courses in Europe, and

together with Golf Club Colli Berici, they can provide the

opportunity to play on a plateau. Verona Golf Club has been

home to many championships and is considered one of the

most beautiful golf courses in Northern Italy.

Veneto is the only region in Italy to achieve the prestigious

IAGTO "Best Undiscovered Golf Destination 2013" award.

Green fees remain very competitive compared to other

Mediterranean destinations, while most courses are easily

accessible, thanks to the presence of three international

airports. Combining sport with culture, history, gastronomy

and wine tours raises Veneto's golf experience to new

levels

VISIT

BR AND CARD

Circolo Golf Venezia,

Venezia Lido, Italy

Kenya steps-out

as a golf tourism

destination

Kenya has carved itself a niche

as a golf tourism destination

as it continues to host global

golfing events.

Popularly known as the "Home of

Champions" for producing world

champions in athletics, Kenya is

starting to stand out as the next

golfing hotspot and is now attracting

enthusiasts from around the globe.

Already, the nation has cemented its

position as a top golfing destination

in Africa, boasting over 40 worldclass

courses and a growing local

and international fan base.

ACCOLADES

In 2020, Kenya was named Africa’s

leading Golf Destination by World

Golf Awards, beating countries like

Morocco, Egypt, and South Africa

which are considered as the cream

of Africa in golf. At the same awards,

Karen Country Club situated in the

Kenyan capital, Nairobi was declared

as Kenya’s best golf course while

the Great Rift Valley Country Lodge

and Golf Resort located in Naivasha

picked up the award for being the

country’s best golf resort.

Kenya is blessed with a number of

well-manicured golf courses that

boast international standards and

offer players and fans alike a magical

golfing experience.

EUROPEAN TOUR

ANNUAL EVENT

Each year, Kenya hosts a number of

major International tournaments and

several local golf championships.

The annual Magical Kenya Open

Championships is one of the

competitions that have played a huge

role in promoting the country as a

golfing destination.

And it has recently been announced

that the European Tour has added

the Kenya Savannah Classic to its list

of events for this year. The 72-hole

stroke play event will take place from

March 23-26 at Karen Country Club

in Nairobi and come just two days

after the conclusion of the Magical

Kenya Open, held at the same venue

VISIT

BRAND CAR D

34 ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 10 TH MARCH 2021

www.itb-berlin-news.com


Event Program

LEARN FROM TOP SPEAKERS

AND TOURISM MASTERMINDS.

Discover the future of tourism NOW.

Join the Exhibitor Presentations

and Press Conferences at ITB Berlin

NOW. Walk the chat by knowing

what the industry is talking about.

5 facts why watching this is more important than ever:

Stay up to date on the latest information of our exhibitors

Find out more on today’s challenges as well as tomorrow’s opportunities

Learn more about sustainable tourism and how to manage the current crisis

Explore new destinations and safe travel options for 2021

Be part of a strong and international community and build relevant business contacts

The best of it: In case you have missed something,

all Video on Demands are available until 31 of May 2021.

Expand your knowledge NOW!


CSR

CONNECT WITH SUSTAINABLE & RESPONSIBLE

MINDS OF THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY.

AT ITB BERLIN NOW.

Find more program

information behind

this icon on

www.itb-now.com

In a series of keynotes, interviews, panels and award sessions, responsible and sustainable

tourism solutions will be in the spotlight of many program items – a small pick below:

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Women in Tourism Building Back Better powered by SheTrades, International Trade Centre (ITC) /

Launch of Social Entrepreneurship Competition 2021 / TO DO Award Winner Presentations / Interview

Secretary of State Portugal Ms. Rita Marques: Sustainable solutions for a strong recovery /

ITB - IIPT Celebrating Her Awards honoring extraordinary women in tourism / Tourism & Human Rights:

Multiple experiences of discrimination and inequality and how to fight it / Indigenous Tourism & Sustainability:

Authentic indigenous experiences and resilience in times of crisis

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

#SustainableFlying – Just Marketing or a Possible Future Developement? - Masterclass by Lufthansa

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Socialbnb – how a start up creates a more sustainable tourism for everyone

Friday, 12 March 2021

Climate Change Update / ITB Keynote Interview: Climate Change - The new US Government’s Perspective /

Tourism for Sustainable Development (in cooperation with BMZ) / Top Countries for Sustainable Travel /

Euromonitor‘s Sustainable Travel Index - What are the Winners‘ Recipes for Success? / Studiosus Talk:

Human rights in supply chains: What due diligence laws do we need? / Climate Change Measures in the Hospitality

Industry / Global Tourism Message / Just Transitions in Global Tourism / Co-creating Sustainability in Tourism

– interactive panel powered by Futouris / Economic Sustainability: Recovery and Resilience of Destinations

Get an insight on CSR@ITB! www.itb-berlin.com/csr


SMARTGUIDE

Sarawak: a new vision

Culture, adventure, nature, food and festivals…

in Malaysia’s largest state

INFORMATION

AND IDEAS

FOR TRAVEL

PROFESSIONALS

NEW TOURISM

STRATEGY

HOW SARAWAK

PLANS TO INCREASE

INTERNATIONAL TOURISM

LATEST NEWS:

INFRASTRUCTURE,

ORIGINAL PROMOTIONS,

NOVEL DESTINATION

IDEAS


CONTENT

EDITORIAL

#03 VISION

Reinvigorating tourism in Sarawak

Puan Sharzede Datu Hj Salleh Askor,

CEO, Sarawak Tourism Board

#04 FACTS & FIGURES

Sarawak works to boost international tourism

#05 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Tourism - an essential pillar of Sarawak’s economy

Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Minister

of Tourism, Arts and Culture cum Minister of

Youth and Sport, Sarawak

#06 TRADE TALK

Destination Sarawak – as seen by travel

professionals

Richard Barnes

Editor-in-Chief

Sarawak – an open

book for tourism

#07 THEMATIC TRAVEL

UP CLOSE AND

PERSONAL WITH

SARAWAKʼS

DIVERSE

CULTURAL ROOTS

SARAWAK

HOME TO

COUNTLESS

FESTIVALS

#20 MICE

MICE in Sarawak

#08

#21 TRANSPORT & INFRASTRUCTURE

#23 SARAWAK MAPS

#12

WHITE RAJAH

BROUGHT BACK

TO LIFE

#10

NEW ROLE

FOR

SEMENGGOH

#18

Destination Borneo, and more

particularly the Malaysian state

of Sarawak, evokes a number

of images for people today: a

wild land… the domain of the

orangutan… the numerous Dayak

indigenous cultures… virgin

rainforest… the extraordinary

history of Sarawak’s “White

Rajahs”. Indeed, Sarawak today

still has all of that, but also

boasts a tourism offering that

is evolving quickly, while seeing

the application of a strict policy

ensuring eco-responsibility and

sustainability.

One cannot say Sarawak has

everything. No, it doesn’t

have skyscrapers, it doesn’t

have multi-lane traffic jams, it

doesn’t have thick smog haze,

and it certainly doesn’t have

overtourism. Sarawak remains

very much an open book when

it comes to tourism, in a good

sense, as the state authorities

have been able to look at best

and worst-case scenarios in

other parts of Southeast Asia,

and plan accordingly to ensure

tourism in this state heads in the

right direction.

With a new CEO since late 2018, in

the person of Sharzede Datu HJ

Salleh Askor, Sarawak Tourism

Board is honing strategies for

promotion and infrastructure

improvement with a view to

developing international tourism.

This is being done in such a way

as to benefit local communities,

while delivering unforgettable

experiences – truly adding value

– through a new multi-pronged

plan covering culture, adventure,

nature, food and festivals

(CANFF).

This SMARTguide aims to be

a veritable “decision-making

tool” for the travel professional,

delivering important destination

news and new ideas when it

comes to planning travel to this

place. We are sure you will find

it to be extremely valuable for

all those in the travel planning

business.

Edition, produced by CLEVERDIS, 65 avenue Jules Cantini, Tour Méditerranée, 13006 Marseille, France - Tel: + 33 442 77 46 00 - info@cleverdis.com • www.cleverdis.com

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President & CEO: Gérard Lefebvre - Managing Director: Jean-François Pieri - Production Manager: Jean-Guy Bienfait - Editor-in-Chief: Richard Barnes -

Head of editorial team: John Falchetto - Art Director: Hélène Beunat.

With the participation of: Bettina Badon, Benjamin Klene, Xiaojing Si, Jasdeep Singh, Veronika Verzhak

• On cover: Iban longhouse on Batang ai lake © Cleverdis

• Registration of Copyright March 2020. Information presented in this publication is purely indicative in order to illustrate subjects contained therein. No guarantee can be given as to the accuracy of data or content at time of printing and thus

the latter should not be used to professional or commercial ends. While all efforts have been made as to accuracy and pertinence of content and data contained in this publication, CLEVERDIS may in no case be held responsible for the consequences,

whatever their nature may be, that may result from the interpretation of this data or content, or any eventual errors therein. All rights are reserved. Any reproduction of the content of this publication, even partial, by any procedure whatsoever, is strictly

prohibited without the prior authorisation of the publisher. Any copy, whether by photography, photography film, magnetic tape, disc or other means constitutes a forgery, liable to punishment under French law under the legislation of 11 th March 1957

covering copyright. All brands cited in this publication are registered trade marks and/or belong to companies which are their respective proprietors. The publishers and editorial staff decline all responsibilty as to opinions formulated in this publication

by those interviewed or cited therein. Their opinions are entirely their own, and are included with the understanding that they contain, to our knowledge, no malicious intent. The inclusion of all texts, photographs and other documents supplied by those

included in the report imply the acceptance by their authors of their free publication therein. Documents and photgraphs are not returned. It should be understood that this publication contains forward-looking statements that involve risks,

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2 SMART GUIDE www.sarawaktourism.com


Datuk Abdul Karim

Rahman Hamzah

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture,

Youth and Sports, Sarawak

WE ARE SATISFIED

WITH THE POSITIVE

GROWTH OF VISITORS

TO SARAWAK LAST YEAR,

RECEIVING 231,498

MORE VISITOR

ARRIVALS COMPARED

TO 2018

Vision

Reinvigorating

tourism in Sarawak

Puan Sharzede Datu

Hj Salleh Askor

CEO – Sarawak Tourism Board

2020 is an encouraging year

for Sarawak Tourism Board

as we wet the Visit Sarawak

Campaign Phase Two into

action. We are satisfied with

the positive growth of visitors

to Sarawak last year, receiving

231,498 more visitor arrivals

compared to 2018 (2018:

4,430,921 & 2019: 4,662,419)

- a growth rate of +5.22%.

As part of this, we achieved

a significant rise in visitor

arrivals from the domestic

market, with a growth rate of

+11.3%. The Sarawak Tourism

Board is working on improving

our existing strategies and

plans. Having set the target

of five million visitor arrivals to

Sarawak, we are confident that

with the intensive marketing

and promotional campaigns

of Sarawak Tourism Board in

domestic markets and the

ASEAN region, this should be

achievable. We are working

on building collaboration with

airlines, enhancing our digital

platforms, and continuing

aggressive promotion and

marketing campaigns in all

our focus markets.

We are also seeking to grow the

long-haul market in addition

to the ASEAN market and

“border” tourism. As we know,

visitors from Europe, the USA,

and more locally, Australasia,

love our adventure offering,

our nature and culture, trying

the exotic food and having fun

at our festivals. One of the key

ways we’re developing the

long-haul market is through

a strong presence at major

trade shows around the world,

as well as through online and

print advertising.

Key issues and challenges

for us moving forward

are primarily based on

connectivity. We are working

hard to bring together

all industry players, from

Government, private and

public sectors. Moving into

this new decade, Sarawak

will, I am sure, see a major

transformation in terms of

air connectivity, and to this

end, we aim to encourage

more direct flight to Sarawak,

especially to the central

regions Sibu, Bintulu and

northern region, Miri. The

development of Sarawak’s

road networks will also be

an essential factor in the

development of tourism.

Digital marketing is also

becoming increasingly

important. We are

collaborating with industry

players to get more

involvement in digital

marketing, need to identify

the local operators, industry

players that are willing to

increase Digital marketing,

hence, moving to digital

footprint. Moreover the

Sarawak Government also has

a budget for digital marketing.

Our main pillars of Sarawak

as a tourist destination?

“CANFF”: Culture, Adventure,

Nature, Food and Festival

are the main pillars. All these

things combined make

Sarawak a destination that

is highly unique and can,

in themselves, help travel

professionals create an

unforgettable itinerary for

their clients

www.sarawaktourism.com

SMART GUIDE 3


FACTS & FIGURES

© 2019 Rob Allyn / STB

Outdoor activities

are a big driver for

tourism in Sarawak

Facts & figures

Sarawak works to boost international tourism

2020 sees Sarawak heavily promoting its

destinations to overseas source markets as

part of the ongoing Visit Sarawak campaign,

coupled with Visit Malaysia 2020.

The past year has seen 5.2%

growth in inbound travellers

to Sarawak, from 2018 to

2019, with an overall total

of 4,662,419 visitors in the

year. Around 2 m of these

are foreigners. To get a better

grasp of Sarawak’s inbound

figures, it is important to

note that a large part of

the international figures

quoted concern visitors from

neighbouring countries –

Brunei (1,296,017 visitors in

2019), Indonesia (418,461 in

2019), and the Philippines

(63,238 in 2019). A number

of these visits may thus

have been visits to family

and friends, or occasional

business visits, rather than for

leisure tourism. Unlike many

other countries, Sarawak’s

tourism infrastructure has

gone from almost zero in the

1970s, to what it is today. In

1972, total tourist numbers

for the entire state were

54,223.

An interesting market for

Sarawak today is Singapore

(traditionally a major source

market for all of Malaysia).

From 2018-19, the number

of visitors from Singapore

jumped by 7% from 43,734

to 46,812. Australia, another

major source market for

Sarawak, saw growth of 3.9%

in visitor numbers in the year

to 2019, with a total of 16,881

inbound travellers.

Over the past year, visitor

numbers from key source

markets in Europe, such as

the UK, France and Germany

remained relatively static,

with a drop of around 4% in

German visitors balanced

out by a similar increase in

visitors from France, while UK

visitors, which by far make

FROM

2010 TO 2019,

OVERALL

INBOUND

TOURIST

ARRIVALS

GREW BY 42%

up the lion’s share of the

European market, remained

stable at 32,194 in 2019.

As figures tend to vary country

by country from one year to

another, it is interesting to

look at broader trends over

the past (almost) decade.

From 2010 to 2019, overall

inbound tourist arrivals grew

by 42%, primarily buoyed

by a growth in domestic

travellers visiting the state.

Over that time, there has

also been remarkable growth

in Indian visitors – from

16,533 to 26,791 – a rise of

62%. Singaporean visitor

numbers were up by 21%,

Germans +11.45% and most

interestingly, the biggest

growth for a European

country came from France

with a rise of 64% over the

nine years, from 3,856 in

2010 to 6,325 in 2019. For

its part, South Korea saw the

biggest growth over the nine

years from 2010 to last year,

up by 103% from 5,327 in

2010 to 10,820 in 2019. Major

growth has also come from

Taiwan, up 47.7% to 10,004

visitors from 2010 to 2019

4 SMART GUIDE www.sarawaktourism.com


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Datuk Abdul Karim

Rahman Hamzah

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture

cum Minister of Youth and Sport,

Sarawak

WE ARE

BUILDING

CONNECTIVITY

AND

ACCESSIBILITY

FOR WHAT

REMAINS FOR

MANY A TRULY

MYSTICAL

DESTINATION

Tourism - an essential pillar

of Sarawak’s economy

Exclusive interview: Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Minister of

Tourism, Arts and Culture cum Minister of Youth and Sport, Sarawak

According to the “regional satellite account”

of Sarawak 2018, tourism generated RM11bn

(€2.43bn) – 7.5% of Sarawak’s gross domestic

product. We asked Minister of Tourism, Arts,

Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim

Rahman Hamzah to tell us more.

In 2018, 240,000 people were

employed in Sarawak thanks

to the tourism industry: 19.1%

of Sarawak’s workforce.

Our focus is on culture,

adventure, nature, food &

festivals (CANFF). This also

means tourist attractions are

not only focused on urban

areas but are extended to

villages and rural areas. In

terms of road connectivity,

two projects will be completed

this year, in the areas of

Sibu and Kapit, opening up

new areas along the Rejang

River, where tourists will be

able to explore the exquisite

nature of these untouched

rural areas. Then there is

the Bintulu – Sungai Asap –

Belaga link. Sungai Asap is a

new settlement and Belaga is

a big town in the area.

How is tourism infrastructure

evolving?

Sarawak’s State government

supports the upgrading of

infrastructure such as the

Pan Borneo Highway, Coastal

Highway, museums and

sports arenas. We are also

dedicated to the upgrading

and development of the

internet in Sarawak to improve

connectivity for tourists,

developing the Sarawak Travel

Application. We are continuing

to build connectivity by

seeking to attract new airlines

and routes into Sarawak’s key

airports.

An unprecedented number

of new tourism projects are

opening in the coming months

and years. The 2 nd largest

Museum in Southeast Asia

will open in Kuching at the end

of 2020. Then there are the

Sarawak Culture Museums,

also in 2020; the Performing

Arts Centre – to be completed

within 2 years; the Santubong

Archaeological and Wildlife

Centre, the Beautification

of Pangkalan Sapi, the

upgrading of waterfront

facilities; construction of a

riverside walkway from Fort

Margherita to the Darul-

Hana Bridge; development of

museums in Limbang; Tusan

beach facilities; Sadong-

Jaya mangrove tourism – a

sanctuary for birds to migrate

from Indo-China, with the

gazetting of the area as a

National Park; at the Niah

Cave, there is extensive

upgrading of the walkway from

the river to the cave, along

with the addition of bungee

track and trails; and finally

upgrading of Bako National

Park and Semenggoh Nature

Reserve’s facilities.

What if your “message” to

travel professionals from

around the world?

Our tourism products are

very exotic for visitors from

Europe and also the Middle

East, because most have

never seen “nature in the raw”

such as what can be found

in Sarawak. We are building

connectivity and accessibility

for what remains for many a

truly mystical destination,

with the focus on our “big five”

- culture, adventure, nature,

food & festivals

www.sarawaktourism.com

SMART GUIDE 5


TRADE TALK

Destination Sarawak

– as seen by travel professionals

Michael Metzner

CEO Tischler Reisen AG,

Germany

Gary Speldewinde

Director – Ecogreen Holidays,

Kuching, Sarawak

Philip Yong

Co-founder and Managing Director,

Borneo Adventure

OUTBOUND TO

SOUTHEAST ASIA

INBOUND TO SARAWAK

We are recognising a growing

trend towards individual quality

tours. Sustainability is becoming more

and more important. Also, tours

combining several different countries

or destinations are popular. An example

might be Singapore combined with a

nature and wildlife experience in

Sarawak/Borneo.

As a specialist for individual tailor-made

quality tours to Asia, Oriental countries

and Indian Ocean we are always

looking for untouched destinations off

the beaten track. Sarawak is truly one

of these natural gems and fits perfectly

in our portfolio. Private tours to the

National Parks including trekking tours

in the rainforest, wildlife observation

and experience of the great variety of

culture are just some of the highlights,

Sarawak has a lot to offer, and an

increasing number of our clients are

attracted to exploring the destination

every year.

Ecotourism is a major trend

today. People want to find

out more about the country, the

culture, the cuisine, and the

indigenous people; but to do this,

you need somebody in the field who

knows the ropes. We prefer to

organise tours where people

actually live in a village and stay with

the local inhabitants.

… We have just signed with a new

online portal in Europe: a site

launched at the end of February

2020. They focus on ethnic tribes

of different countries. With them,

we are developing tours of up to 12

days, learning about the lifestyle

of the local communities. There is

so much to learn that it would be

impossible to do so in one’s entire

lifetime, but with a tour like this,

people can really see a lot!

Sarawak exceeds expectations.

On the surface, we could

advertise about culture, nature and

adventure, but there is a whole lot

more than that. There’s food, there are

festivals, there is an incredible variety,

and the layering of so many things,

and that is a bonus. I think we do have

some stunning places. Kuching still

has a bit of an old city laid-back charm;

Mulu is spectacular… it always takes

my breath away.

There are a variety of things people

can do. For example, we can take

people to see Orangutans in the wild.

Not many people have done that. You

can see them in the zoo. But there

are probably less than ten thousand

people who have seen Orangutans in

their natural habitat in Sarawak. There

is something for everyone – families,

adventure travellers or couples.

6 SMART GUIDE www.sarawaktourism.com


CULTURE

Southeast Asia’s new

cultural highpoint

Malaysia’s biggest, most spectacular new

museum set to open in Kuching in 2020

It’s set to become the “shining star” of Malaysia’s, and indeed the

entire region’s cultural scene. Sarawak’s new state museum in

Kuching – Malaysia’s biggest, the second biggest in Southeast

Asia – will open to the public later this year.

The new museum and annexe are part

of the Sarawak Museum campus, which

also includes the old Sarawak Museum,

the Natural History Museum, and the Art

Museum.

The new 30,000 sq m building will ensure

that the Sarawak heritage, in the form of

a wide array of collections, is safely and

securely stored, preserved, documented,

researched and well exhibited,

according to the latest standards by the

International Council of Museums.

The new five-storey building will have

exhibition spaces on Levels 2 through 5,

on two wings flanking a central atrium.

Level 1 will house commercial lots, a café,

function rooms and auditorium spaces,

supporting and complementing the

exhibition gallery.

The main building is connected to a threestorey

annexe, housing the museum’s

offices, conservation and research

spaces, library and archives, while the

entire basement level is a dedicated

storage area.

The property has been under construction

since 2014, at a cost of around €70 m. It

is Malaysia’s first museum to be Green

Building Index (GBI) certified. Ecofriendly

building materials include timber

products certified by the Programme for

the Endorsement of Forest Certification

(PEFC) for the floors and interior wall

panels. Following the demolition of the

Dewan Tun Abdul Razak building to make

way for the new museum, conscious

efforts were also made to retain the

large trees on site and to preserve the

surrounding context as much as possible.

While the building was completed last

August, with an official hand-over

ceremony attended by Minister of

Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports

Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah,

opening time is slated for later this year.

When complete, visitors will embark upon

an interactive journey through Sarawak’s

history, and the lifestyles of the state’s

numerous ethnic communities.

The Sarawak Museum had long been

hailed as one of the best in this part of

the world, with its old wing dating back

to 1891. The new building will serve as a

centre of learning, hosting international

scholars to collaborate with local

curators on documenting the material

knowledge of Borneo’s rich past, along

with its cultures, people and nature.

It aims to establish Sarawak as a new

global focal point for work in the field of

anthropology

www.sarawaktourism.com

SMART GUIDE 7


CULTURE

© 2019 Rob Allyn / STB

Jonathan Rhys

Meyers in the

upcoming

White Rajah

White Rajah brought

back to life

The legendary “founding father” of Sarawak set

to hit the big screen in new Hollywood extravaganza

For many in the western world, the name

Sir James Brooke has little meaning. That’s

about to change, as a new Hollywood

blockbuster, filmed at the end of 2019, and

in post-production in early 2020, will soon

be hitting the world’s screens.

The movie, with the working

title “White Rajah”, tells the

story of how this former

British soldier, who sailed

to Borneo in 1839 in search

of adventure and fortune,

came to be known as the

White Rajah of Sarawak,

after helping the Sultan

of Brunei crush a pirate

rebellion.

The new film was produced

by Rob Allyn, directed

by Michael Haussman

and stars Jonathan Rhys

Meyers in the role of the

Rajah. Rhys Meyers is best

known for his roles in Match

Point, Mission: Impossible

III, and Tudors and Vikings.

Actor Dominic Monaghan,

who played the hobbit

Merry in the Lord of the

Rings trilogy, takes the

role of Colonel Arthur

Crookshank, Brooke’s

cousin and comrade-inarms.

The production was made

in cooperation with the

Brooke Heritage Trust,

supported with Malaysia’s

federal FIMI film rebate -

the first time the rebate has

been used to make a major

movie outside of Peninsular

Malaysia. Sarawak’s

Minister of Tourism, Arts,

Culture, Youth and Sports,

Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman

Hamzah, has placed his

support behind the project,

saying he felt that the

fact the film showcases

many beautiful locations

in the state will arouse

great interest in travel to

Sarawak.

Shooting took place in the

rustic town of Siniawan,

the Fairy and Wind Caves in

Bau, Sarawak, the Sarawak

Cultural Village and Borneo

744.

Producer Rob Allyn says

he hopes his new film will

be ready in time to screen

at the 2020 Cannes Film

Festival in May

WHITE

RAJAH EPIC

ORIGINALLY

PLANNED

BY ERROL

FLYNN IN

1936

The successful filming of

this Hollywood epic comes

around 84 years after a first –

unsuccessful – bid to make a

film about the White Rajah, by

none other than Errol Flynn,

who was also to star in the film.

The film never came to fruition,

due to legal wrangling between

the would-be producers,

Warner Brothers, and Lady

Sylvia Brooke, the then Ranee

(Queen) of Sarawak over

“historical accuracy”.

8 SMART GUIDE www.sarawaktourism.com


CULTURE

The Antithesis

of British colonial rule

Sarawak Raj was a very “different” kind of

leadership

Sir James

Brooke

The White Rajahs ruled Sarawak from

1841 to 1946. The first ruler, subject of the

new Hollywood feature film, was Sir James

Brooke. As a reward for helping the Sultan

of Brunei fight piracy and insurgency

among the indigenous peoples, he was

granted the province of Sarawak in 1841,

as an independent Kingdom.

DELVING INTO HISTORY

AT FORT MARGHERITA

In Kuching, the very

prominent Fort Margherita

on the riverfront was built

by the second Rajah,

Charles Brooke. Designed

in the style of an English

castle in 1879, it protected

Kuching from pirate

attacks, and was named

after Charles Brookes’ wife

Margaret Alice Lili de Windt.

In 2016, having previously

housed the Police Museum,

it was transformed into

the “Brooke Gallery” –

showcasing the Brooke

dynasty

Brooke pursued a policy

of paternalism, with

the goal of protecting

the indigenous peoples

– the Iban and other

Dayak tribes – from

capitalist exploitation.

He installed laws banning

slavery, headhunting and

piracy.

After James Brooke laid

much of the groundwork

for the expansion of

Sarawak, his nephew

Charles, the second

Rajah, was the “great

builder”. He constructed

public buildings, such as

a hospital, in addition to

forts, as well as extending

the borders of the state.

Vyner Brooke, the son

of Charles, instituted

significant political

reforms. He ended

the absolute rule of

the Rajah in 1941,

before the Japanese

invasion during World War

II, by granting new powers

to the parliament.

The Brooke family still

maintains strong ties to

the state and its people

and are represented

by the Brooke Trust, and

by Anthony Brooke’s

grandson Jason Desmond

Anthony Brooke, at

many state functions

and supporting heritage

projects.

The Brookes’ architectural

legacy can still be seen

throughout Sarawak

Fort Margherita (centre),

with the State Assembly (right)

ANOTHER REMINDER

OF THE BROOKE LEGACY:

FORT ALICE, SRI AMAN

Fort Alice, built in 1864

in the coastal town of Sri

Aman, around 200km

north of Kuching, was given

the second name of the

Rajah’s wife. After years of

loving restoration, it

was opened to the

public in 2015, and

won the gold award

for conservation in

Malaysia’s Institute

of Architects’ 2017

Awards. The gallery

inside shows the

history of the fort itself, the

small town of Sri Aman as

well as the tense contention

between the Iban people

and the British soldiers of

the Brooke era

Fort Alice,

Sri Aman

www.sarawaktourism.com

SMART GUIDE 9


CULTURE

The real thing:

an Iban longhouse

at Batang Ai

Up close and

personal with

Sarawak’s

diverse

cultural roots

The Sarawak Cultural

Village, a stone’s throw from

Kuching, is so authentic

that it was used as a set for

the upcoming Hollywood

blockbuster, the White

Rajah. The village is a living

museum: ideal for a halfday

visit. The diversity of

Sarawak’s tribes is simply

extraordinary.

“If you take the example

of the Orang Ulu, they are

divided into 26 different

sub-groups, each of which

doesn’t speak a different

dialect, but speaks a

whole different language”,

explains Gary Speldewinde

– Director – Ecogreen

Holidays, Kuching, Sarawak.

The Cultural Village’s

buildings represent every

Penan

blowpipe

demonstration

at the Sarawak

Cultural Village

major ethnic group in

Sarawak; namely the

Bidayuh, Iban, Orang Ulu,

Penan, Melanau, Malay &

Chinese. Upon entering

each building, after

witnessing a traditional

welcome ceremony, visitors

find members of the

ethnic groups in traditional

costume carrying out

traditional activities and

taking time to pose for a

photo or two. At the Penan

hut, visitors also have the

opportunity to witness the

art of blowpipe making.

They can also try their hand

at blowpipe shooting with

the Penans, the last of the

hunters and gatherers –

forest nomads

While the Sarawak cultural

village is exceptional,

nothing beats the real

thing. A few hours’ drive

outside Kuching, one

arrives at Batang Ai dam

– the shores of which are

home to a number of Iban

people living in traditional

longhouses, leading simple

lives.

The biggest community –

the Mengkak longhouse

– has 38 families, totalling

around 200 people. The

community is around 45

minutes’ boat ride from the

nearest resort or road.

Visiting this place, one

instantly understands that

these people are, on the

one hand, quite reserved,

and on the other, are very

hospitable. Their traditional

rituals, dances, foods,

and costumes continue

to intrigue and fascinate

visitors and researchers

from around the world.

The longhouse is made

up of a large communal

living space, called the

ruai, flanked on the outside

by a terrace, and on the

other by individual rooms

– each housing a family.

The ruai is the place

where the longhouse folk

gather for a chat or carry

out their days’ activities.

Here, one eats with the

Iban, seated on the floor,

savouring local fare, after

tasting the home-made

rice wine and (gulp) rice

‘whisky’.

These are the direct

descendants of the Iban

head-hunters, whose

images from yesteryear

fuelled the curiosity of so

many in the past. Apart

from the head-hunting,

little else has changed.

It is truly an immersive

experience

A traditional dance in

the Mengkak longhouse

10 SMART GUIDE www.sarawaktourism.com


I ADVENTURE I NATURE

Penan woman, selling

handicrafts at Batu

Bungan village (Mulu)

Tourism

as a cause

for good

As often stated by the

former Secretary-General

of the UNWTO, Taleb Rifai,

tourism can and should be

a force for good. In Sarawak,

this is very much the case,

as every person who visits

Sarawak’s national parks

and protected areas and

pays fees contributes to

the upkeep of these fragile

forests – much of them

pristine primary growth –

and protects the unique

wildlife that lives within

them.

Some local tour operators

also offer the chance for

visitors to become involved in

reforestation initiatives. Park

buffer zones are extremely

important in increasing the

available habitat for wildlife,

so by extending the forest

cover this further helps

in protecting the wildlife.

Huge steps are being made

across the state to conserve

and manage Sarawak’s

valuable and unique

forests. In addition to some

800,000 hectares of Totally

Protected Areas (TPAs)

that are off-limit to logging

companies, large areas of

land classed as “terrain

4” (steep and hilly) areas,

“High Conservation Value

Forests”, buffer zones and

verified “Native Customary

Rights” land remain pristine.

The declared initiative by

the state government to

pursue responsible tourism

underpins the importance

of other moves that had

already been initiated by the

state authorities to protect

forests and wildlife

Upgraded

infrastructure for

Bako National Park

With foreign tourist numbers to

Bako National Park growing by

an average of around 15% every

year for the past three years, the

Sarawak Forestry Corporation

has been working on adding

to and refurbishing facilities for

visitors, including the opening

of a new camping ground. The

Bako Boat Terminal was also

temporary closed for renovation

and upgrade by the Sarawak River

Board from 15 April 2019 through

February 2020.

Bako is said by many to be

the best place in Sarawak for

wildlife experiences. It is home

to approximately 150 rare

proboscis monkeys, found only

in Borneo. The park has been

a protected area since 1957, so

animals are less wary of humans.

Visitors, especially those who

stay overnight, have countless

opportunities to observe and

photograph various types of

wildlife. Long-tailed macaques,

silvered leaf-monkeys, common

water monitors, plantain squirrels,

wild boar and mouse deer are also

found here.

The largest mammal found at

Bako is the Bornean Bearded

Pig. As its name implies, it is

distinguished from other wild

pigs by prominent bristles either

side of its snout. Bearded pigs are

often found around the park HQ

scavenging for food or wallowing

in mud

Proboscis

Monkey in

Bako National

Park

www.sarawaktourism.com

SMART GUIDE 11


ADVENTURE I NATURE I

Orang-utan in

Semenggoh park

New role for Semenggoh

Until recently known as an orangutan “rescue centre”

the status has now changed to “nature reserve”

For over 20 years, the wardens at Semenggoh Nature Reserve

had been training young orangutans, orphaned or rescued

from captivity, on how to survive in the wild. The success of

this programme has left the surrounding forest reserve with

a thriving population of healthy adolescent and young adult

orangutans, who are now breeding in the wild.

The rescue programme has thus been

transferred to Matang Wildlife Centre,

leaving Semenggoh Nature Reserve as

a comfortable home to its successful

graduates, semi-wild orangutans and

their babies.

These majestic animals – our closest

“cousins” in terms of DNA, once kept

illegally as pets, are trained on how

to fend for themselves before being

released into the forest. Over the years, a

number of orangutans have been trained

and released and now form a semi-wild

colony in the reserve. As regular as

clockwork, they swing down from the

trees for a free handout of fruit. If it is

the fruiting season in the forest, some or

even all of them may not come to feed.

This in itself is a good sign and another

step on the way to full rehabilitation.

MATANG TAKES OVER

AS MAIN RESCUE CENTRE

Matang Wildlife Centre is to be found at

the western corner of the Kubah National

Park, about 40 minutes’ drive from

Kuching. The centre’s 180 hectares

of lowland forest provides natural

surroundings for orangutans and other

local fauna. Matang is a dedicated

centre where endangered species, such

as orangutans, are rehabilitated and

released into the forest. While they are

being educated, they remain at the centre,

enabling visitors to get close to animals

they might not spot in days of wandering

the jungle. (Please note that wildlife

sighting activities in Matang Wildlife

Centre will be temporarily ceased from

1 st January 2020 until 30 th June 2020 (6

months) in order to facilitate repair and

maintenance works on the infrastructure.)

WORK HANDS-ON TO SAVE

ORANGUTANS? YES, YOU

CAN!

Foreign visitors to Sarawak are

able to volunteer to work with an

orangutan conservation programme.

With Orangutan Project Sdn Bhd,

a conservation company offering

alternative solutions and sustainable

funding opportunities for the endangered

wildlife on Borneo, visitors can give

“hands-on” help in their quest to save

the Red Apes of Borneo, with monthly

departures to Batang Ai National Park

12 SMART GUIDE www.sarawaktourism.com


I ADVENTURE I NATURE

© 2019 Paradesa

Cycling

Borneo

Trans-Borneo

Road Bike

KAYAKING

SARAWAK -

PADDLING

IN

PARADISE

For great photo

opportunities (with a

waterproof camera),

kayaking on Sarawak’s

Semadang River is a

must.

Semadang Kayak is the premier

kayaking, bamboo rafting

and adventure outfitter and

service provider operating on

the Sarawak River (Semadang

River) at the Heart of Borneo’s

Rainforest a short drive from

Kuching, Sarawak.

“Trans-Borneo Road Bike” has

been launched by Kuchingbased

adventure tour operator

Paradesa* as a two-week

adventure through the wilds of

this incredible island.

Visitors cycle a total of 1,370 kilometres on

paved roads along the South China

Sea and beaches, through mangrove

forests and plantations, stunning

landscapes and peaceful villages before

taking on some challenging climbs to

truly appreciate the natural splendour

of Borneo. Accommodation varies

from beachside / mountain resorts to

international city hotels, and even a local

homestay.

The itinerary covers two countries,

8 international crossings and 1,370

kilometres in 12 cycling days, with

enthusiasts cycling end-to-end,

travelling East to West from the state

of Sarawak, finishing in style in Sabah,

crossing through the Sultanate of Brunei

along the way.

Highlights include encountering the

hospitality of the multi-ethnic peoples

of Borneo, exploring remote national

parks of Sarawak for wildlife spotting,

and being among the first to boast riding

across Borneo.

Those who like cycling, but perhaps

not to the point of crossing the entire

island, will find an eclectic range of

other possibilities, with a number of

short cycling itineraries, including “Best

of Kuching: Heritage and Kampong

Bike Tour”, “Sunset Kampong Ride with

Hawker Food”, “A bite of Borneo by Bike”,

and “Kuching Bike and Cook”.

*Winner of 7th Sarawak Hornbill Tourism

Award 2015/2016: - Outstanding

Destination Management Company -

Special Recognition: Emerging DMC

Award

With various package choices,

the local operator takes visitors

on the “kayaking and rafting

trip of their life”. The trip is a

family friendly and suitable for

beginners, including a short

“training” session at the start of

the activity. Lunch is included

in a small village along the way.

The organisers themselves take

photos of the intrepid kayakers,

sent to them by email just after

their visit

Semadang

Kayak

www.sarawaktourism.com

SMART GUIDE 13


ADVENTURE I NATURE I

Celebrating 20 years World Heritage status

Mulu underlines legacy from the past, being lived today, set to be

passed-on to future generations

In November 2020, Mulu National Park

celebrates the 20 th anniversary of its being

named one of only 20 World Heritage sites

in the world that qualify for a total of four

key world heritage criteria. Mulu boasts

superlative beauty – mountains, combined

with huge river systems, a tropical

rainforest and huge caves. The earth’s

history and geo features are evident in the

gigantic caves and the Pinnacles. Visitors

appreciate the biodiversity and ecological

processes when adventure trekking or just

strolling along the botany trails.

© 2018 Jorg Sundermann

Melinau river sunset

at Mulu Marriott Resort

Deer Cave, Mulu

National Park

“REVEALED” IN THE 1970’S

The mystery and magic

of Borneo has lured the

cream of the scientific

world since it was first

discovered. In 1978,

the Royal Geographical

Society launched one

of the biggest multidisciplinary

expeditions

to Mulu. Prior to this, the

Sarawak Government,

recognising the special

qualities of Mulu, had

gazetted it a National Park

in 1974. The magic caught

on in 2000, and Mulu

was declared an iconic

UNESCO World Heritage

Area, and at 55,000

hectares, also the state’s

biggest National Park.

Gunung Mulu National

Park is now the most

intensively studied area

of tropical karst in the

world. Dominated by

Gunung Mulu, a 2,377m

sandstone pinnacle

(the second highest

mountain in Sarawak),

the area is exceptionally

scenic, with rainforestcovered

mountains,

wild rivers in deeplyincised

canyons, sheer

limestone pinnacles, long

underground passages

and immense caves.

CAVES: THE WORLD’S BIGGEST

In terms of total volume, Mulu

boasts having the biggest cave

system in the world. At least 295

km of explored caves include

the Sarawak Chamber - the

largest known cave chamber

in the world at 600 m by 415 m

and 80 m high. With a volume

of 12 million cubic meters and

an unsupported roof span of

300 m, this chamber dwarfs

any other large chamber so

far discovered. Deer Cave at

120 to 150 m in diameter is

the largest cave passage in the

world known at the present

time and the Clearwater

Cave System holds the world

record as the longest cave in

Asia at 110 km of mapped and

explored passages. The caves

show classic underground

geomorphological features

which reveal an evolutionary

history of more than 1.5 million

years.

Both above and below ground

the Park has a wide range of

endemic animals and plants in

seventeen vegetation zones.

The caves house millions

of swiftlets and bats and

provide outstanding scientific

opportunities to study the

origins of cave fauna.

14 SMART GUIDE www.sarawaktourism.com


I ADVENTURE I NATURE

MEETING THE LOCALS

– ORANG ULU, THE UPRIVER PEOPLE

From the river-based Berawan tribes of

Long Terawan to the now settling Penan

in the villages of Batu Bungan and Long

Iman: these are the Mulu locals and

they play an integral part in the affairs

of Mulu National Park. These villages

are also made accessible for tourists

to visit, specifically to enjoy the local

handicraft market and of course to try

their hand at the weapon of choice –

the blowpipe! The workforce of the Park

consists of 96% locals and all are proud

Sarawakians.

River at Mulu

GUNUNG MULU

NATIONAL PARK

– PROTECTING

HERITAGE

FOR FUTURE

GENERATIONS

A recent study (2017) by the IUCN

World Heritage Outlook resulted in a

“good” status, with the IUCN stating,

“The combination of the remoteness

(no public road access), rugged

terrain, legislative basis of protection,

existence and implementation of

an Integrated Development and

Management Plan, 5-year plan, very

effective professional management

and dependence of a valuable

tourism industry on the park augurs

well contributing to ongoing effective

protection and management.”

According to the UNESCO World

Heritage Committee, “GMNP

provides outstanding scientific

opportunities to study theories on

the origins of cave faunas. With its

deeply-incised canyons, wild rivers,

rainforest-covered mountains,

spectacular limestone pinnacles,

cave passages and decorations,

Mulu has outstanding scenic values.

GMNP also provides significant

natural habitat for a wide range of

plant and animal diversity both above

and below ground. It is botanicallyrich

in species and high in endemism,

including one of the richest sites in

the world for palm species.”

HIGHLY TRAINED GUIDES

When a guide leads a group into

the Mulu caves he or she is not only

an interpreter, allowing people to

understand the nature, but they also

act like rangers, ensuring the visitors

keep their litter, and do not harm the

environment.

The park itself employs around 20

guides and there are a number of

freelance guides working permanently

with travel agencies, bringing the total

to 60 guides.

CANOPY WALK

At 480 metres in total length and

built in 2007, Mulu has the longest

tree-based walkway in the world.

Here, guides help visitors better

understand the flora and fauna

of the tropical forest.

Mulu canopy

walkway

Jeffrey Simun,

Operation Manager,

and Bian Rumei,

Tourism Services

Manager, Borsamulu –

Mulu National Park

“Guides have to attend a course

which is run by the Sarawak Forestry

Corporation for 21 days, and Borsamulu

runs a course which lasts around 10

days, very specific on the park product,”

explains Jeffrey Simun, Operation

Manager, Borsamulu – Mulu National

Park. “They learn about the geology of

the caves, the flora the fauna, and then

they have to attend an exam. Only once

they pass the exam can they obtain a

license.”

www.sarawaktourism.com

SMART GUIDE 15


CULTURE I ADVENTURE I NATURE I FOOD I FESTIVALS I

Penghulu

Robertson,

village chief

of Bario

Bario – the land of a hundred

handshakes

A little-known remote inland region that “ticks-off

all the boxes”

Penghulu Robertson, village

chief of Bario (pronounced

Bariew), holds out his hand to

strangers at the tiny aerodrome

as the passengers prepare to

board a MAS Wings Twin Otter

back to the coast – one of two

flights a day. The airport is the

main entry point for all travellers,

unless they are keen on taking a

12-14 hour slipping-and-sliding

bone-shaking 4-wheel drive

epic from Miri on the coast.

“How have you enjoyed this place?”,

the chief inquires, with a warm,

genuine smile. And of course, the

handshake. If Bario is described by

those who have visited as the “land

of a hundred handshakes”, it is not

without reason. In a day, the visitor will

shake dozens of hands, be greeted

with an equal number of smiles,

and will be treated to a broad range

of local “bush caught and grown”

dishes. This place thus singularly

“ticks off all the boxes” of Sarawak

Tourism Board’s promotional themes

of culture, adventure, nature, food

and festivals.

In past years, a large number of

research projects around the world

have pointed to the fact that savvy

travellers more and more are looking

for what could be termed “immersive”

experiences, where they meld into

a local community, becoming as

one with its people, rather than just

being observers. Bario, through its

remoteness, and the fact there are

no hotels – just longhouses – puts

one fairly and squarely in the picture

as part of the local experience. Added

to this is the fact that the “official”

welcome ceremony for visitors by

the Kelabit people involves the visitor

participating, albeit awkwardly, with

an occasional giggle, in dance and

games with the locals. It means one

is not an observer, but is accepted as

a friend or “part of the family”.

Lying at an altitude of over 1,100m, in

the north-eastern corner of Sarawak,

Bario, once known as the “most

remote village in the British Empire”,

is home to the Kelabit people, one

of the minority Orang Ulu tribes of

Sarawak (formerly fierce headhunters),

and its name means “wind”

in their language.

16 SMART GUIDE www.sarawaktourism.com


I CULTURE I ADVENTURE I NATURE I FOOD I FESTIVALS

It is the starting point for a

number of treks throughout the

area (for virtually all fitness

levels). One can also go kayaking

or be immersed in the mystical

tales of the megaliths that

dot the area. For the really

adventurous, Bario is either

the starting or the ending point

of the arduous 5 day /4 night

Bario-Ba’kelalan jungle trekking

adventure.

“What would you say makes

Bario different?”, I asked the

chief.

“Of course, there is the Bario rice,

then there is the pineapple. It

grows all over Borneo, but it’s not

as sweet as in Bario. Maybe it’s

because of the climate, or maybe

the altitude. Another thing that

is different here is the weather,

which is much cooler than on the

coast,” he replies.

Batu Ritang

Megalith

THE

MEGALITHS

OF THE BARIO

HIGHLANDS

The region is dotted with massive

man-made stone structures

known as megaliths. Perhaps the

best known is the Ritong stone, or

Batu Ritong, at Pa Lungan, a little

under an hour by 4-wheel-drive

from Bario town. It is thought to

be a burial ground for a Kelabit

nobleman named Ritong dating

from hundreds of years ago. The

site was excavated in 1962 by

British soldier Tom Harrison, and

originally, the structure was standing

straight upright. However, over the

years, Batu Ritong has tilted, and is

now at a 45° angle

It’s hard to pin down a single

“selling point” for this place.

Perhaps the key differentiator is

the fact that there are so many

points – all important.

The homestays provide lodging

and full board, with meals quite

often consisting of organic

Bario highland rice, wild boar

or venison, and jungle plants,

topped off with local pineapple.

All organic of course

Sunset over the Bario

countryside

PESTA NUKENEN

AN ETHNIC “SLOW FOOD” FESTIVAL

UNLIKE ANY OTHER

Founded in 2005, the Bario Food and

Cultural Festival, or “Pesta Nukenen” is

one of the most exceptional ethnic food

festivals in Malaysia.

The three-day annual Nukenen

Festival, generally held in the month

of July, celebrates the unique food,

farming, forest and cultural heritage

of the Bario Highlands, with visitors

enjoying delicious organic food cooked by

the various longhouse communities of the

Kelabit Highlands.

As space is very limited on flights to Bario,

it is recommended to organise visits to

Bario well ahead of time via local DMCs

who are able to coordinate transport and

accommodation

Preparing “Nubag

Layag” during Pesta

Nukenen

Local dishes include “Nubag Layag” –

sticky Bario rice wrapped in a leaf called

an “Isit”. Even up until today, this is the

standard food local farmers carry with

them as snacks when working in the fields.

Another “must have” is the “Pucuk Ubek”,

a fine concoction of pounded tapioca

leaves. And don’t miss the “Urum Ubek”,

or glutinous rice fritters.

www.sarawaktourism.com

SMART GUIDE 17


FESTIVALS

Rainforest World

Music festival is a

high energy event

SARAWAK – home to

countless festivals

There’s a whole range of festivals in Sarawak

throughout the year. Here are just a few…

PESTA BABULANG

(BUFFALO RACE FESTIVAL)

Dates: 5 – 7 June 2020

NEW! - RAINFOREST

IN THE CITY

Dates: 30 June – 9 July 2020

RAINFOREST WORLD

MUSIC FESTIVAL 2020

Dates: 10 – 12 July 2020

Steeped in tradition, this cultural

festival - the biggest in Limbang

(northern Sarawak), includes the

quintessential buffalo race. Another

highlight is the “Ratu Babulang”

or “Babulang Queen” contest,

which sees young Bisaya ladies in

traditional costumes display in their

most mesmerising mannerisms

in a bid to win the title crown.

Pesta Babulang also showcases

traditional Bisaya costumes, culture

performances, exotic native food

and other unique activities. (Bisaya

is one of indigenous people in

north-west and coast line of Borneo,

mostly living in Limbang and Lawas

district)

Rainforest in the City aims to enhance

the buzz, highlighting the on-going

campaign of Visit Sarawak Year 2020

by spotlighting events at The Heroes

Monument Park in the Kuching city

centre - for tourists and festival-goers.

Its intention is to expose the Culture,

Adventure, Nature and the Food &

Festivals that Sarawak has to offer in

“snippets” with modern audio, lights and

technologies to experience in the city by

night over 10 days. This festival consists

of 3 main components, namely light

exhibition, audio visual performances

and food experiences. Combinations of

all these three elements will be the main

feature of this year’s event and hopefully

the years to come.

The Rainforest World Music

Festival (often abbreviated as RWMF)

is an annual three-day music festival

celebrating the diversity of world music,

held in Kuching, with daytime music

workshops, cultural displays, craft

displays, food stalls, and main-stage

evening concerts.

The festival features a wide range of

performances from traditional music, to

world fusion and contemporary world

music.

For its 23rd edition, the Rainforest World

Music Festival this year will be featuring 8

stages, 9 mini session venues throughout

the Sarawak Cultural Village. 45 bands

will deliver over 70 performances

including 33 mini sessions.

18 SMART GUIDE www.sarawaktourism.com


FESTIVALS

RWMF FRINGE FESTIVAL

Dates: 3 – 15 July 2020

The RWMF Fringe is an annual festival

of visual, performing and lifestyle arts

from Borneo and around the world to

complement the iconic Rainforest World

Music Festival. It also aims to bring the best

of the mainstream contemporary, traditional

as well as engaging experimental works to

local and also visiting audiences.

Expect to see genres such as Theatre,

Photography, Indigenous Film, Marketplace,

Cuisine, Spoken Word, Arts & Crafts, Fashion

and more at the RWMF Fringe. All RWMF

Fringe events are staged at exciting venues

within 2-kilometres of Kuching city centre

as The Rainforest World Music Festival is

held at the Sarawak Cultural Village & Damai

Central on the coastal enclave of Santubong,

37 kilometres from the city.

Most RWMF Fringe events are staged free of

charge on a “first come first served” basis.

BORNEO CULTURAL

FESTIVAL – SIBU

Dates: 16 – 25 July 2020

Borneo Cultural Festival (BCF) is

a week-long celebration of food,

music and dances that celebrate

the unique yet diverse cultural

background such as Indigenous

people (Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu,

Malay/Melanau and Chinese). The

festival highlights the richness of

culture and heritage in Borneo to

the world, including its multiracial

beliefs and practices with holding

the main object by promoting

“Beauty in Ethnic Diversity”.

BCF is Sibu’s biggest tourism

event, it is also a perfect time to

mingle all the locals from walks

of life by participating in fringe

events such as trade shows, fun

fair and stage shows.

SARAWAK

INTERNATIONAL

DRAGON BOAT

FESTIVAL

Dates: 23 – 25 October 2020

The Sarawak International

Dragon Boat Regatta is an

internationally-recognised

event, where local and foreign

teams compete in various race

categories to win cash money

and trophies. This challenge

is an affiliate event of the

International Dragon Boat

Federation (IDBF).

www.sarawaktourism.com

SMART GUIDE 19


MICE

The Borneo

Convention Centre

Kuching

MICE in Sarawak

Borneo Convention Centre Kuching plans

major upgrade in 2020

The spectacular Borneo Convention Centre Kuching plans on

carrying out major upgrades this year, introducing state of the

art audio-visual technology to its repertoire.

News of the upgrade comes as a new

report by Talk2 Media & Events has

underlined the importance of face-toface

meetings, revealing that 93% of

business event delegates find human

interaction and connections important

across business events, with 48%

declaring them to be critical. In view

of this information, BCCK is working

on continuing to expand its global

presence by hosting more and more

international and prestigious events, as

well as expanding physically as a venue

to facilitate more and larger events in the

future.

BCCK was the first purpose-built venue

in Sarawak, designed to host a myriad

of events from large conferences and

exhibitions to smaller meetings within

one venue. It first opened its doors in

2009 and has since hosted over 1,800

events and over 2.4 million delegates and

visitors.

Located 8 km from Kuching’s city

centre, the BCCK is located on

a 6-hectare riverfront site. The

centre’s environmentally conscious

design was inspired by the surrounding

rainforest. A major element - when viewed

from the outside - is the roof structure.

Creative architectural solutions for

function and form of this element were

found in nature. The Centre’s roof is

shaped in the form of a “Ririk” leaf.

“Ririk” grows in abundance in Sarawak,

and due to its large leaves, it is used by

many indigenous tribes for wrapping rice

and food.

The building has a gross floor area

of 36,500 square metres and the

internal design offers complete

flexibility with functional spaces able to

be subdivided into a variety of sizes and

configurations for plenary sessions,

exhibitions and banquets.

In the field of MICE, as organisations

around the world seek to be more

innovative and compete more and more

on creativity, BCCK approached the

question of innovation from a totally

unique perspective: a space created amid

the tranquillity of the tropical rainforest

where any distractions that could take

focus away from simply being innovative

are kept at a distance.

Being secluded however does not mean

disconnection. The centre is equipped

with the latest in communication

technologies with wireless internet

enveloping the whole area, cutting ledge

LAN infrastructure and, from this year,

even more modern AV technology

A FEW KEY EVENTS

FOR 2020:

July:

Men’s Health World Congress

(MHWC) 2020

July:

6 th World Engineering, Science and

Technology Congress (ESTCON) 2020

August:

18 th International Conference on Clean

Energy (ICCE 2020)

November:

AFSM Tripartite Conference 2020

20 SMART GUIDE www.sarawaktourism.com


TRANSPORT & INFRASTRUCTURE

Taxi boat

approaching the

new Golden Bridge

with State Assembly

in background

Despite the completion of

the spectacular Golden

Bridge, the new highlight

of Kuching’s riverfront in

2017, Sarawak’s “perahu

tambang” or river taxis,

remain very much the icon

of the Sarawak River; a relic

of the past; still very much

part of the city’s daily life.

Over two centuries, since the first

White Rajah, Sir James Brooke, set

up an early settlement combining

two populated Malay Kampungs —

Boyan and Surabaya — on the left

bank of the river as his administrative

centre, this part of the river figured

prominently in the life of the city,

contributing to the birth of downtown

Kuching.

Today, the new 335m S-shaped

bridge is a key tourist attraction,

connecting the south bank’s highly

popular waterfront walkway (main

bazaar and golden triangle) to

the north bank, where the State

Legislative Assembly building, the

historic Fort Margherita, and Astana

residence are to be found.

The Sarawak River -

life blood of Kuching

“Perahu tambang” still the icons

of the picturesque waterway

Sungai Bedil Besar, it is still much

quicker to take a boat - only two to

three minutes, while pedestrians

wishing to use the bridge will have

to walk for 15-20 minutes. Some

boatmen eat and sleep on their

boats during the week… so don’t be

surprised to see a blanket or two

rucked under the stern. According

to Jeman, most boat men work one

week on and three weeks off – in

rotation with others – while they

work in on farms the remainder of

the month.

To fully tap the river’s tourist potential,

the Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB)

recently endorsed a masterplan to

further develop river transport along

a 24km zone between Batu Kawa

and the Borneo Convention Centre

Kuching (BCCK).

A river cruise on

the MV Equatorial

CRUISING

THE RIVER

For those wishing to visit Kuching at a

leisurely pace – viewed from the river,

cruising aboard the “Sarawak River

Cruise” on the MV Equatorial gives a

different perspective of the historic city.

The cruise takes visitors past historical

landmarks such as the Kuching

Waterfront, Square Tower (formerly a

prison), a multi-purpose market, the old

State Mosque with five onion-shaped

domes, a Malay house on stilts and

the Satok Suspension Bridge before

heading the other side of the river to

see the Astana (former palace of the

White Rajahs), Fort Margherita (now a

police museum) and a fishing village

“My job still keeps me busy”, said Pak

cik Jeman (Jeman the boatman),

who prefers to row his passengers

across the river than to use the

motor. Generally running a boat from

the jetty at Jalan Gambir to Kampung

www.sarawaktourism.com

SMART GUIDE 21


TRANSPORT & INFRASTRUCTURE

Ongoing

roadworks flank

original road

on Pan Borneo

Highway project

– here near Sri

Aman

Royal Brunei Airlines

introduces flights to

Kuching and Sibu in

Sarawak

The new Royal

Brunei routes

A new transport backbone

– the Pan Borneo Highway

Travel by road across the vast state of Sarawak continues

to be a long journey – up to 19 hours from Sematan to Miri

currently on a tarred, but often rough two-lane road.

Royal Brunei Airlines has launched

services to Sarawak with flights to

Kuching and Sibu as part of its new “RB

Link” services.

To accelerate the socio-economic

growth of Sabah and Sarawak, a major

effort to fully develop and upgrade

the Pan Borneo Highway into a fourlane

dual carriageway was announced

by Malaysia’s Prime Minister in April

2013. But the origins of a planned trunk

road connecting the expansive states

of Sarawak and Sabah, with Brunei in

between, date back to the 1960s when

it was known as the Trans-Borneo

Highway. Construction works began

in 2015, and now almost half the works

have been accomplished throughout

the state.

When completed in the coming

years, the future toll-free Pan Borneo

Highway Sarawak from Telok Melano

to Merapok is expected to span a total

distance of 1,060 km. It will become

THE transportation backbone of the

states of Sabah and Sarawak and

will play a major role in opening-up

economic corridors and opportunities

in areas it traverses.

Pavement works – at some stretches,

new 2-lane single carriageway are

already taking shape. These will

be progressively opened to traffic,

to enable construction works to

concentrate on the next two-lane

single carriageway

“We are very pleased to be able to expand

our footprint in Sarawak with two new

destinations, Kuching and Sibu through

our brand-new innovative product, RB

Link. This allows for more trade and

tourism opportunities between the

cities, and also provides residents from

Kuching and Sibu with greater travel

choices to any of our exciting cities

within the RB global network,” said Ai

Ling, RB’s Senior Vice President of Sales.

Flights to and from Sibu began on 14

November 2019

KUCHING LAUNCHES NEW

HYDROGEN-POWERED BUS

SERVICE

The new zero

emission

hydrogen bus

in Kuching

Sarawak’s highly anticipated

zero emission hydrogen

bus service was launched in

January 2020, operating on

two routes with stops near

various attractions in the city.

The pilot project has begun

with two buses – one operating

the Downtown Heritage

Loop and the other on the

much longer Damai Loop.

The service is a joint effort of

the State Transport Ministry

and Sarawak Economic

Development Corporation

(SEDC) to promote a reliable,

affordable, safe and ecofriendly

public transportation

system in Sarawak

22 SMART GUIDE www.sarawaktourism.com


From

Penang

From

Kuala Lumpur

Kota Kinabalu

SABAH

From

Johor Bahru

Miri

Brunei

Mulu

From

Ponanak,

Indonesia

From

Singapore

Sibu

Bintulu

SARAWAK

Kuching

THAILAND

ADAM

AND NICOBAR

ISLANDS (INDIA)

CAMBODIA

VIETNAM

PHILIPPINES

MALAYSIA

BRUNEI

SARAWAK

SINGAPORE

INDONESIA

SABAH

BANDAR

SERI BEGAWAN

MIRI

Miri-Sibuti

Reef

Sibuti

Lawas

LIMBANG

BRUNEI

Nanga Medamit

Marudi

Beluru Mulu

Ba Kelalan

Bario

Sematan

Lundu

Matu

Siburan

Bau

KOTA

BETONG

SAMARAHAN

Pulau Bruit

Daro

Belaga

Selangau

SIBU

Song

Damai

Kabong SARIKEI

KAPIT

Kanowit

Santubong

Talang Satang Island

Pusa

KUCHING

Sebuyau

SERIAN

SRI AMAN

MUKAH

Lubuk Antu

BINTULU

Tatau

Sebauh

Bukit Mabong

Sg. Asap

www.sarawaktourism.com

SMART GUIDE 23

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