KUCHING 鈥？Sarawak Tourism Year 2003 (STY鈥？3) is not a visit year and as such will not be in conflict with the numerous visit years within Malaysia as well as in regional countries.
This is the message that Sarawak is conveying to the world at large about Sarawak Tourism Year 2003.
Sarawak Tourism Board鈥檚 (STB) chief executive officer Aloysius Dris agrees with TravelWeekly that 鈥渧isit years鈥？have lost their impact.
鈥淭hat鈥檚 the reason for us naming the year as Sarawak Tourism Year 2003. Its concept is different as it will mark the start of a longterm promotional campaign for Sarawak. The activities will not end after 2003 and the strategies will continue long after the year is over.鈥？P>Moreover, the State chooses next year to start the promotional campaign as it marks Sarawak鈥檚 40th anniversary of independence within Malaysia.
The objectives of the campaign are to inform the international and domestic tourists about Sarawak鈥檚 latest developments in the tourism 鑾嗙敯闉嬫湇鍩？/strong> industry; to position Sarawak as one of Asia鈥檚 top ecotourism destinations; and to drive home the message the role of tourism as a catalyst for the preservation of Sarawak鈥檚 cultural, historical and 澶栬锤璁哄潧 natural heritage.
鈥淭hrough this campaign we also want to raise awareness among the peoples of Sarawak on the increasing importance of the tourism industry as an economic activity and employment provider and the need for them to support the industry,鈥？says Dris.
A number of activities have been lined up for the special year. Dris says they will revolve around local festivals and events including the famous Rainforest World Music Festival and the inaugural Borneo Cup International Yacht Challenge from Miri to Labuan in October.
STB will introduce the City Tram as one of the value-added services as part of the STY鈥？3.
Currently the first in Malaysia, it is s free for both local and foreign visitors.
Visitors to the state next year will also be able to purchase the 鈥淒iscover Sarawak Pass鈥？ which entitles the holder to discounts at restaurants, shops, tours and accommodation and free entrance to a number of national parks.STY鈥？3 also aims to expand Sarawak鈥檚 attraction beyond CAN (culture, adventure and nature) to business events.
Sarawak Tourism Minister Dato鈥？Sri Abang Zohari Tun Abang Haji Openg revealed to TravelWeekly in an earlier interview that the state would expand and renovate the Kuching International Airport, and build a new five-star hotel and a dedicated convention centre, all within the next three years.
He also sets the target to draw 6 million visitors and RM3 billion (US790 million) in tourism receipts to the state by 2006.
Asked whether such a target could be achieved in today鈥檚 uncertain political climate, Dato鈥？Sri Abang Zohari answered, 鈥淵es, assuming other things being equal. This year we are confident of reaching the 3.4 million mark in tourist arrivals.鈥？P>Watch out for the full report on Sarawak Tourism Year 2003 in TravelWeekly 瀹夌瀹跺洯 ATF Dailies 2003.