New tourism products will be developed to revitalise the tourism industry in Sarawak.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan, who is also Tourism and Heritage Minister, said there was a need to inject new ideas into the tourism industry because it was starting to become stagnant.
“There are many new areas of interest that we have yet to open up in the state. We are looking at new attractions such as historical sites, beautiful natural spots, farms, offshore reefs, homestay in remote areas and the likes.
“I am gathering more ideas from the tourism players in the private sector. We need to be more innovative and creative in promoting Sarawak so that we can bring in more local and international tourists again,” he told a press conference in Miri yesterday.
Dr Chan said that in places like Miri, the potential of war-time historical sites such as the beachfront where the Japanese landed in their bid to capture the oil-wells could be explored.
He pointed out that many Australian and British soldiers had died in the city while trying to liberate Sarawak from the Japanese.
“A lot of foreigners will come to pay their respect to their loved ones who have died here if we have some sort of a monument to remember these foreign soldiers who had died,” he said.
Dr Chan said his ministry was also looking into ways to expand the markets which sell native products, local vegetables and foodstuffs as these areas were very popular with foreign tourists.
He said that even farms and orchards had potential to lure tourists.Another area where there could be huge tourism income are the various harvest festivals celebrated by the different ethnic groups, he said.
He said foreign tourists could be offered homestay packages where they would stay in longhouses for an extended period to help the locals harvest fruits like durians, and also partake in harvests of rice, tapioca and the likes.
As for the fishing villages along the coast, Dr Chan said homestay packages could be offered whereby foreign tourists could be taken for deep-sea fishing or inland fishing to offer them a unique experience.