Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is hoping that Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) would look into the possibility of engaging the private sector to promote and market Sarawak’s national parks and wildlife as tourism products.
Abang Johari suggested that the private sector could look into targeting specific tourists for premium tour packages, promoting the best of what Sarawak nature and national parks could offer.
“I would like SFC to look into the possibility to get the private sector to come in, and the private sector is good at promotion and also to find new markets. But for the asset itself must comply with the conservation, and that has to be done by our SFC.
“Perhaps, I will ask the management to look into that possibility and try to get the private sector to come in but must be controlled tourists, not open for mass tourists, and we charge premium so that we can get some revenue for us to upgrade the infrastructure within our national parks.
“I’m very confident that is the type of tourists we can attract that will give premium revenue to our state,” he said during the SFC 16th Anniversary Dinner last night.
Abang Johari, came with the suggestion after encountering a tourist, a bird watcher who was coming to Bako, here just to watch birds and that the camera and imaging equipment brought by the bird watcher costs more than RM40,000 at the time.
“In other words, we have to pay attention to this type of tourists. They have a lot of money, and are willing to spend so much just to see the birds,” he said.
Abang Johari also highlighted the importance of conserving the nature and environment of the state, so that not only these types of tourists would continue to come to Sarawak, but it would put Sarawak in the eyes of the world as one of the best nature tourists destinations.
“Because of that, we are attracting these tourists. We have to look after our nature. These are some of the attractions that we have, and these people (tourists) who come over here, they are rich people.
“That is the trend now because the world is having a problem where the natural habitats of these animals are declining, and they might go extinct. That is why thank God, we in Sarawak still have a lot of nature reserves, so we have to look after them properly,” he said.
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