Sarawak govt in talks with Motac to allow licences to be issued by state ministry

KUCHING: The Sarawak government is in talks with the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) to allow tour guide licenses to be issued here to overcome the acute shortage of licensed tour guides in the state.

State Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the dialogue was crucial as there was an urgent need to overcome the shortage or else it would hinder the growth of the state tourism industry.

Presently tour guide courses and licenses are conducted and issued by Motac.

"High course fee and having to attend the courses and sitting for the examination in Kuala Lumpur is part of the reasons why there are not many (Sarawak) tour guides in Sarawak," he said at a press conference after presenting his talk "Sarawak Tourism Blueprint" on the second day of the Sarawak Dialogue here today.

According to Abdul Karim, to attend the course and sit for the examination in Kuala Lumpur, each participant will need to pay RM7,000 to RM8,000 excluding airfares, lodging and food.

Hence, he said his ministry was discussing with Motac to allow the tour guide course to be conducted here and license to be issued by his ministry.

On the homestay programme, Abdul Karim said it was an important segment of the tourism industry which the ministry was promoting since its establishment especially in the rural areas.

He said Motac should give licenses to these homestays operating in the rural areas regardless of the number of participants in the programme in each village.

At the moment, Motac only issued licenses to these homestays with a minimum of 10 participants in each village.

Earlier in his talk, Abdul Karim said Sarawak was actively promoting youth and sports tourism as it was becoming a big industry, adding that the state was bidding for more international sports events to the state.

He said Sarawak was anticipating five million visitors' arrival to the state this year. Last year the state recorded 4.85 million visitors' arrival, an increase of 7.9% as compared to 2016. — Bernama