KUCHING, 14 March 2023: Sarawak’s top tourism players returned to ITB Berlin 2023 last week, hosting an inaugural stand-alone pavilion to strengthen Sarawak’s presence in the European market and position Sarawak as a leading eco-tourism destination in the ASEAN region.

Participation at ITB Berlin makes Sarawak more visible in the Europe market, positioning itself as a unique and exotic destination.

During the three-day show, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and its trade partners managed to clinch 52 new leads to promote Sarawak. STB projects the leads will result in 20% growth in sales from Europe. Three days of intensive sales at the world’s largest travel trade show should generate an estimated MYR10.5 million in revenue during 2023 and beyond.

Visitors to ITB Berlin tasted Sarawak’s unique plethora of culture, adventure, nature, food and festivals, opening new leads and creating strong interest in Sarawak. The pavilion also showcased various aspects of Sarawak’s multi-ethnic communities, natural ecosystems, and diverse flora and fauna to ensure continuous ‘Discovery of Sarawak’.

A significant agenda for Sarawak at ITB Berlin was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and Tischler Reisen AG as a collaborative effort to boost Sarawak’s visibility towards becoming a preferred destination among the people of Germany and surrounding European markets both offline and online with the best travel agencies, involving some 600 agencies in Germany.

Sarawak’s Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts (MTCP) Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the Sarawak Pavilion reflected the state’s passion for driving tourism as one of the key contributors to securing economic growth in Sarawak.

The Minister shared: “This year, Sarawak has returned stronger – targeting 3 million visitor arrivals. Sarawak’s tourism industry has established its image as a cultural destination, and tourism continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. It was an optimistic comeback for Sarawak, with more than 800% growth in tourism receipts.”

“Events and festivals are key to growing further. One such event is our internationally renowned Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) which will be held from 23 to 25 June this year. Recognising that festivals have a massive carbon footprint and that waste generated represents one of the most prominent environmental impacts, proactive measures have been taken towards creating and implementing a sustainable, eco-friendly festival,” added the Minister.

Another significant highlight for Sarawak at ITB Berlin was the unveiling of its new destination video, “Sarawak…Now More Than Ever”, as well as video presentations on Sarawak’s adventure products such as cycling, trekking caving activities and promotion of the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) 2023.

As the biggest state in Malaysia with a low-density population of 2.9 million people, Sarawak is very proud of its natural inheritance of pristine rainforests, endemic flora and fauna, and its diverse peoples. Located in Borneo, the third largest island in the world, the rich land of Sarawak is host to a kaleidoscope of cultures made up of 31 ethnic groups, with a rich and diverse ecosystem for adventurers to explore.

As world travellers become more conscious of responsible travel, Sarawak has embraced this philosophy, taking bolder steps towards the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). STB plays a role in advocating for responsible businesses and governments to maximise economic and social benefits.

Taking environmental issues seriously, Sarawak tourism players incorporate elements of sustainable waste management, energy conservation and environmental education in their tours to ensure travellers contribute to conserving Sarawak’s attractions for generations to come.

Sarawak tourism players adopt eco-friendly practices in their tourism products, such as encouraging bicycle rides in rural areas or enjoying bird-watching in Sarawak’s lush rainforests. Tourism players promote homestays, encourage local food consumption, and highlight local handicrafts and arts in their effort to sustain the local way of life. Travellers can find community-based tourism in areas such as Nanga Sumpa in Batang Ai, where travellers can gain insights into the lifestyle of the various tribes of Sarawak. These efforts can generate an economy for its residents, especially those from lower-income groups.

Sarawak’s renowned Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, 20 km from Kuching City, is Sarawak’s biggest orangutan rehabilitation centre. Currently, the centre serves as a habitat for the orangutans and a place for visitors to learn about this endangered species.

Supporting Sarawak Tourism Board’s (‘STB’) efforts in Berlin were its key strategic partners – Authentic Borneo Tours, Borneo Adventure, Business Events Sarawak (Sarawak Convention Bureau), CPH Travel Agencies (Sarawak), Greatown Travel, Happy Trails Borneo Tours, Hemisphere Hospitality, Paradesa Borneo, Smart Leisure & Travels and Tropical Adventure to work together to enhance Sarawak’s visibility on the global pedestal.

For more information about Sarawak, visit https://www.sarawaktourism.com/

(Your Stories: Sarawak Tourism Board)