Sunday, October 26, 2008

Opinion - Sarikei Tourism Drive: The Marketing

Sarawak Guidebook, 2007
Source: Sarawak Tourism Board

If you flip through a typical Sarawak Tourism brochure, either you find a few liners on Sarikei or none at all. It's zilch inside the Sarawak Guidebook 2007 above. We can sit there and wait for the cheese to come or we can proactively move the cheese to Sarikei by selling our value proposition discussed in the previous blog posts. Sarawak is a fascinating destination and Sarikei has to compete for our fair share of marketing versus other locations.

Sarikei Tourism Brochure, 2006
Click to enlarge. Click back arrow to come back.
Source: Sarawak Tourism Board

The best effort on Sarikei is the above 2006 brochure which may have been discontinued as it's rarely seen after that. What do you think can be improved on the brochure? The brochure seems to promote Sarikei to both local and foriegn tourists which will mix up the messaging. For example, foreigners will not be interested in the Sebangkoi waterfall park per se but would be keen to trek on jungle tracks from there to Iban longhouses. Neither would foreigners want to see deer farming imported from Australia (that's for local tourists) - we need to immerse them in the unique Sarikei experience like pepper harvesting, kom pia making, pineapple farming, swiftlet nest ranching, etc.

Sarikei needs to:
  • 1) Identify the target audience - it's the international tourists, not the local tourists.
  • 2) Position our value proposition - The Ecotourism, Culture, Heritage and Food Trail.
  • 3) Market it through various marketing mix like websites, press releases, fairs and brochures - a) awareness and preference to first timers and b) conviction to repeat visitors. For example, our local website seems to be down most of the time. There's a lack of "how to get there" information.
  • 4) Sharpen our niche for renewal - improve infrastructure to attractions like old Iban longhouses, restore facades of historic shop houses, put better signage to show the directions and explain significance of the key attractions, work with travel agencies in Sarikei and other cities like Kuching and Miri to provide tailored tour packages, etc. eg: Greatown agency based in Sarikei. Check out their Sarikei tour.

Sarikei Tourism Brochure, 2006
Click to enlarge. Click back arrow to come back.
Source: Sarawak Tourism Board

Sarikei is doing well in agriculture but we have to move up the value chain into light industries and tourism. This will help to stem the brain drain by increasing job and retirement opportunities because local talent seldom come back after going to other cities and countries for further studies and work. What is amazing is that Sarikei continues to churn out talent as seen in secondary school results versus national standards but how long can that last?

A penny (or a 10-sen coin) for your thought.


Daniel Yiek said...

By Roger Duyong

SIBU: Front line staff, such as tourist guides play a very important role in the tourism industry as they are the first to meet the tourists, according to Sarawak Tourism Board executive Rudy Anoi.
“With the fast development of tourism industry in the Central Region, the demand for local guides has become more acute than ever before,” he told Eastern Times, while disclosing that the Ministry of Urban Development and Tourism Sarawak and State Tourism Action Council Sarawak, in collaboration with Resident offices from Sibu, Sarikei and Betong, would be organising a “Localised Nature Guide Course” for Central Region
“The course will take place from November 27 to December 14. This course will be held in Sarikei Division and it is open to participants from Sibu, Sarikei and Betong,” he said. The intending participants should know how to read English or Bahasa Malaysia, healthy and show a keen interest in becoming a tourist guide, he added.
He encouraged the youngsters especially school-leavers to take up the challenge.
Rudy said the programme would include a study trip to places of interest within the Sarikei area such as selected longhouses, agro destinations and local handicraft outlets. There would also be talks and lectures given by various people involved in the tourism industry, he added.
He revealed that the course, fully sponsored by the organisers, would be free for selected participants.
“The participants only need provide their own transport from their home to the venue. All participants are required to stay inside the venue because the class will be conducted daily from 8 am until 10 pm. Apart from theory classes there would also be field trips for the participants,” he said.
Participants must complete the full course to qualify for the “Certificate and Guiding” licence which would be issued at the end of the course.
Those interested should get the registration forms available at Sibu Resident Office, Sarikei Resident Office, Betong Resident Office and Sarawak Tourism Board, Sibu. The completed forms must reach any of the offices mentioned on or before October 28. Only 25 participants would be selected for the course, according to Rudy.
For more details, those interested can call the Resident Office in Sibu, Sarikei or Betong or contact Sarawak Tourism Board, Sibu, at 084-340980.

Al-Mualim Shah @ Dino~ said...

Oooh.I love kom pia

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