KUCHING (Nov 5): The ‘Sia Sitok Sarawak’ domestic tourism programme has been extended until March 31, 2021, to help tourism industry players who have been hard hit by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah told a press conference today that his ministry and the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) had decided to extend the programme, which was to end in December, after discussions with stakeholders.
“Everyone is affected, so if we can’t bring visitors from outside, the only way to get all these places to be visited, is to get the locals,” he told a press conference after launching an e-tourism course.
‘Sia Sitok Sarawak’ was launched in July this year as an initiative to bolster the tourism industry after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the state in March with the collaboration of the private sector.
Abdul Karim said the programme had so far attracted 3,167 locals, generating a revenue of about RM700,000.
“How it works is that all those who take up this programme, will enjoy a discount of 50 per cent on rates. This is a good package, a present for Sarawakians, as the government is subsidizing your trips,” he said.
There are 30 packages under the programme with destinations such as Bako National Park, Matang Telaga Air and the Kuching Wetlands, and tours such as frog and bird watching, Irrawaddy Dolphin Watching tour, and the Sarawak River Sunset Cruise.
Abdul Karim acknowledged that Kuching has been declared a Covid-19 red zone but he felt that life must go on for the tourism industry.
“We have to live with this even though it’s a red zone,” he said.
Abdul Karim said tourism industry players were badly affected by the pandemic and his ministry was trying to help them.
“They are suffering because of this pandemic, they have family to feed like us. With this kind of programme, the spin-off effect is not just benefitting the travel and tour but also everyone down the line,” he said.
The ‘Sia-Sitok Sarawak’ packages is accessible at siasitoksarawak.rezgo.com
[Source: “State govt subsidised ‘Sia Sitok Sarawak’ tour packages extended to March 31, 2021” published by Borneo Post Online]