Tuesday, July 10, 2007

German tourists on a 23-day visit - Part 3 (final)

Sibu, here we come!

The tour group stepped on the Land of Swan on July 5 with much eagerness to look forward to. After they dropped their luggage in the hotel, they started their tightly scheduled programme.

The itinerary in Sibu was only a one-night stop-over - seriously too transitory in nature to experience much. Despite that, the group managed to squeeze out time for maximum coverage.

City tour was a must. Then they popped over to Bukit Aup to appreciate the greenery. Not missed out was Pasar Malam where they experienced the urban petty traders' livelihood. And, of course, before they called it a day, they would all love to go to Bamboo House for a drink or two.

Short as the stay might be, the German tourists were impressed by Sibu. Before they drove off to Bintulu on the following morning, we wished them a happy remaining journey.

The group's itinerary for the central region was shockingly brief. Destination of adventure like Pelagus was left out, making me wonder what has gone wrong with our tourism promotions and planning. You might argue that this was very much an isolated case and, therefore,should not be generalised. But, if you talk to people who are in this line,you would find that they tend to concur with me.

Tourism has been identified as one of the economically viable industries that Sibu has great potentials to develop. As we all know, the central region has been blessed with richness in cultural diversity, natural beauty and adventure settings - all are well in place to make this region an excellent destination for discovery tours.

CAN (culture, adventure and nature) is our asset and as we thrive to nourish the growth of our tourism industry, we need to focus well on these aspects.

Ecotourism is a worldwide trend. Growing numbers of holiday-makers love to go back to nature. Have we already captured our share of this market?

By any standard, we have been lagged behind in tourism, especially in comparison with Kuching, Miri and now even with Bintulu. Have we reflected seriously on this issue?

Much has been talked about and we have been vocal over the years, but sadly, there is still left with desirable room for concrete follow-up.

I recall about twelve years back when the concept of CAN was raised to promote the region's tourism, there was much enthusiasm about it. But it was not put into a concrete plan - sadly, indeed.

As we are all too well aware, the economy base of Sibu is presently in a transformation stage - from timber to tourism, agriculture and light industry-based. We really have to work hard to catch up - otherwise we might stand to be edged out in no time.

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