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ITB Berlin News 2020 #3

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I REGION I ASIA IDatuk Abdul KarimRahman HamzahMinister of Tourism, Arts and Culturecum Minister of Youth and Sport,SarawakTourism -an essential pillarof Sarawak’s economyWE ARE BUILDINGCONNECTIVITYAND ACCESSIBILITYFOR WHATREMAINS FORMANY A TRULYMYSTICALDESTINATIONExclusive interview: Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Minister ofTourism, Arts and Culture cum Minister of Youth and Sport, SarawakAccording to the “regional satellite account” of Sarawak2018, tourism generated RM11bn (€2.43bn) – 7.5% ofSarawak’s gross domestic product. We asked Ministerof Tourism, Arts and Culture cum Minister of Youth andSport, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah to tell usmore.In 2018, 240,000 people wereemployed in Sarawak thanks tothe tourism industry: 19.1% ofSarawak’s workforce.Our focus is on culture, adventure,nature, food & festivals (CANFF).This also means tourist attractionsare not only focused on urbanareas but are extended to villagesand rural areas. In terms of roadconnectivity, two projects willbe completed this year, in theareas of Sibu and Kapit, openingup new areas along the RejangRiver, where tourists will be ableto explore the exquisite nature ofthese untouched rural areas. Thenthere is the Bintulu – Sungai Asap– Belaga link. Sungai Asap is a newsettlement and Belaga is a bigtown in the area.How is tourism infrastructureevolving?Sarawak’s State governmentsupports the upgrading ofinfrastructure such as the PanBorneo Highway, Coastal Highway,museums and sports arenas. Weare also dedicated to the upgradingand development of the internet inSarawak to improve connectivityfor tourists, developing theSarawak Travel Application. We arecontinuing to build connectivity byseeking to attract new airlines androutes into Sarawak’s key airports.An unprecedented number of newtourism projects are opening inthe coming months and years. The2nd largest Museum in SoutheastAsia will open in Kuching at theend of 2020. Then there are theSarawak Culture Museums, also in2020; the Performing Arts Centre– to be completed within 2 years;the Santubong Archaeological andWildlife Centre, the Beautificationof Pangkalan Sapi, the upgrading ofwaterfront facilities; constructionof a riverside walkway from FortMargherita to the Darul-HanaBridge; development of museumsin Limbang; Tusan beach facilities;Sadong-Jaya mangrove tourism– a sanctuary for birds to migratefrom Indo-China, with the gazettingof the area as a National Park; atthe Niah Cave, there is extensiveupgrading of the walkway from theriver to the cave, along with theaddition of bungee track and trails;and finally upgrading of BakoNational Park and SemenggohNature Reserve’s facilities.What if your “message” to travelprofessionals from around theworld?Our tourism products are veryexotic for visitors from Europe ofthe Middle East, because mosthave never seen “nature in theraw” such as what can be foundin Sarawak. We are buildingconnectivity and accessibilityfor what remains for many atruly mystical destination, withthe focus on our “big five” -culture, adventure, nature, food &festivalsSARAWAK LAUNCHESSMARTguideAs a valuable resource for travelprofessionals around the world,Sarawak Tourism Board hascommissioned a comprehensiveSMARTguide, which was completedto coincide with the scheduledopening of ITB Berlin. This guide aimsto be a veritable “decision-makingtool” for the travel professional,delivering important destinationnews and new ideas when it comes toplanning travel to this place. We aresure you will find it to be extremelyvaluable for all those in the travelplanning business.Click on the image to readthe SMARTguide.32 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 19 TH MARCH

I REGION I ASIA INew luxury vessel brings colonialflavour to the Mekong riverADVERTORIALIn September 2020, thecruise company HeritageLine launches its firstever vessel Anouvongalong the majesticMekong River in Laos.This lesser-travelled stretchof one of the world’s mostspectacular waterways is hometo serene nature, quaint villagesand stunning temples.Anouvong has only eightspacious staterooms and twoluxurious suites. All cabinsfeature floor-to-ceiling windowsand open onto elegant Frenchbalconies or private terracesoverlooking the verdant shoresof the Mekong River.What makes Anouvong unique isthe blend of traditional Laotianartwork with French-colonialaccents. From the intimateonboard restaurant to therefined setting of the loungewhich opens onto the expansiveterrace deck with panoramicviews, this design theme createsan atmosphere of luxury andsavoir-vivre. Onboard amenitiesalso include a bar, lounge areaand a dining hall offering asophisticated cuisine.Set at the stern of the ship,Anouvong’s spa adds adistinctive lifestyle elementfor endless hours of blissfulrelaxation.The slow journey along thetimeless upper Mekong Riverwill let passengers explorescenic riverscapes, ancientBuddhist holy sites and the richcultural heritage of Laos startingfrom the Thai-Lao border to theenchanting former royal capitalof Luang PrabangVietnam extends visaexemptions for eight countriesVietnam’s government has announced the extensionof its 15-day visa exemption programme for citizensof eight countries: Russia, Japan, Korea, Denmark,Norway, Sweden, Finland and Belarus — until theend of 2022.The country already offered visaexemptions to citizens of 24countries, and e-Visas to citizensof 80 countries. Internationaltravellers can also visit theLang Co Lagoonisland of Phu Quoc visa-free forup to 30 days.In order to improve promotionin Europe, Vietnam recently© Christian BergNear Bagan, Mandalay, Myanmarannounced the opening of anew tourism office in London.Vietnam Tourism AdvisoryBoard (TAB) selected London asthe location for its first overseasrepresentative office, in a moveto bring the country’s tourismassets closer to UK travellers,assist with trip inspiration, andencourage travellers to visit.“There has never been a bettertime to visit Vietnam,” said Mr.Dinh Ngoc Duc, Director ofMarketing at Vietnam NationalAdministration of Tourism(VNAT). “We’re confidenttravellers from the UK will besurprised by the wealth ofoutstanding options here, andwill place Vietnam among theirfavourite destinations in theyears to come”Bangkok Airways flies to 22 destinations in AsiaEXPLORE THEMIRACLE OFINDOCHINAWITHBANGKOKAIRWAYSThanks to Bangkok Airways' codeshareagreements with 28 leading airlines,passengers from around the worldcan easily access not only well-knowndestinations in Thailand, but alsoin neighbouring countries such asCambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.Travellers flying into this region can thusexperience the very best of Indochina– from historical cultural heritage andauthentic lifestyle to white-sand beaches,marvellous landscapes and vibrant cities:CAMBODIABangkok – Phnom Penh: 4 flights/dayBangkok – Siem Reap: 4 flights/dayLAOSBangkok – Luang Prabang: 2 flights/dayMYANMARBangkok – Yangon: 3 flights/dayChiang Mai – Yangon: 1 flight/dayBangkok – Mandalay: 1 flight/dayChiang Mai – Mandalay: 4 flights/weekBangkok – Nay Pyi Taw: 4 flights/weekVIETNAMBangkok – Danang: 1 flight/dayITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 19 TH MARCH 2020 • 33

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