KUCHING, 17 November 2021: Close to 200 players from Sarawak’s tourism industry took a Responsible Tourism pledge to reduce their environmental footprint, support local communities, and protect culture and heritage.

The pledge was taken during a recent industry briefing led by Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), which was held simultaneously in Kuching, Sibu and Miri. Government representatives, local tour operators, hoteliers and healthcare service providers attended the event.

Sarawak Tourism Board chief executive officer Puan Sharzede Datu Haji Salleh Askor said: “This pledge is a sign of our commitment and conviction to build a mindful mindset among industry players and visitors alike. We strongly believe that collective responsible tourism efforts will not only contribute to the wellbeing of our local communities and environment but also create meaningful experiences for travellers.

“Responsible tourism has always been a part of our DNA, along with culture, adventure, nature, food, and festivals. Over the years, STB has actively organised various environment and skill-based programmes to not only advocate for sustainability in tourism amongst local Sarawakians, but also to empower the lower-income community with the ability to upscale their income.”

The Responsible Tourism pledge focuses on 3Es – Environmental Protection, Empowering Communities through Education, and Economic Viability and Impact. These focus on SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and SDG17 (Partnership for the Goals).

In addition to declaring their commitment to responsible tourism, the industry briefing also discussed strategies and programmes for Sarawak in 2022 to achieve the target for visitors in 2022.

“The tourism industry will never be the same. Therefore, our efforts are not focused on going back to where we were. Instead, we want to build, create and imagine the new ways of business beyond Covid-19.

“We foresee a gradual travel and tourism recovery by the end of 2021 and through 2022 thanks to the accelerated vaccine rollout across Malaysia and key markets in the ASEAN region. For Sarawak, in addition to intelligent risk management within borders, we also have in place stringent standard operating procedures for tourists and industry players.

“We are looking forward to the rest of the year and 2022. Kuching’s recent inclusion as one of the 49 new cities under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) Creative Cities Network bodes well for the state and will amplify our presence amongst domestic and international travellers,” Puan Sharzede concluded.

STB was also recently named the “One to Watch” by WTM Responsible Tourism Awards 2021 in the Destinations Building Back Better Post-Covid category.

For more information about Sarawak, log on to Sarawak Tourism Board’s website: https://sarawaktourism.com.