|Abdul Karim (third right) receives a souvenir from Mohd Usir (third left) while others look on.|
KUCHING: The state government has put in place the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), a concept that must be fully understood by industry players for good use.
According to Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Hamzah the TSA was not something new to local tourism players but a good analysis from such data would help improve their overall performance and bring the industry to greater heights.
“The important thing now is to use the account properly as its significance is not only beneficial to tourism players but also in the way we use the account to manage our country.
“To ensure its acceptance in the industry, the ministry is going to set up a laboratory very soon on the subject together with the local tourism industry players so they can grasp the subject better,” he told a press conference after being briefed on the TSA by the Statistics Department here yesterday.
Abdul Karim added that with the TSA the number of visitors going in and out of Sarawak could be projected, and from there the authorities could work out plans to attract more people to come to the state.
He said if the number of visitors was less, industry players could do some promotions and demand more connectivity and good packages to attract visitors.
“It is important that those who come to the state become our ambassadors. We must make their stay here pleasant so they can spread the word around.”
He believed those countries already successful in the tourism industry were those that had good promotion.
“They have many years of openness, coupled with good connectivity. This is the kind of thing we are struggling to emulate. However, even though we are late it is never too late,” he said.
He also called on local travel agents to play a significant role in promoting local tourism products among foreigners.
On connnectivity, he said his ministry was going to revive all those sectors closed in the past in order to bring in more tourists.
He said seven sectors were being negotiated, and many towns like Miri, Bintulu and Sibu still had no approval from Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom)
“This is to ensure we have an open sky policy and bring more flights to the state and thus more tourists,” he said.
He also wanted certain tourist attractions in the state to be handled by his ministry, saying a few national parks should be taken care of by his ministry.
“We can take care of them and also promote them at the same time,” he said.
Back on the TSA, he said it was based on System of National Account (SNA) recognised by the United Nations.
“By using the system we can do comparison with other countries through the TSA data to do planning and to identify any weaknesses,” he said.
Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan, head of Statistics Department Malaysia Dr Mohd Usir Mahidin and permanent secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datu Ik Pahon Joyik were also present at the briefing. -TheBorneoPost