KUCHING, Sept 19 — Sarawak is eyeing India as a major market to promote its tourism products, its Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said today.
“There is a big jump in the middle class in India and they are the ones who like to travel abroad, apart from the upper class.
“That is why we want to promote Sarawak in India,” he told reporters when announcing the departure of a multi-ethnic cultural dance troupe to India.
“We know that India is up and coming developing country and when it comes to IT industries, you cannot beat them,” he added.
Karim said Sarawak is targeting young IT professionals in India as they are affluent.
He said at the recent World Rainforest Music Festival at Damai near here, many young Indians were among those who came.
He said the number of Indian tourist arrivals in Sarawak is "small" due to lack of promotion in the past.
On the cultural dance troupe, Karim said they will be in the Indian capital of New Delhi for 10 days, performing in six different places.
He said the troupe will perform the various traditional dances of the various ethnic groups in Sarawak, such as the Iban, Malay, Bidayuh and the Orang Ulu.
“This is part of our efforts to promote Sarawak and Malaysia to the locals down there,” he said, adding the Sarawak cultural dance peformances in India are held in collaboration with the Malaysian High Commission in India.
Earlier, Karim witnessed the handing over of duties of Assistant Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister from Datuk Lee Kim Shin to Datuk Sebastian Ting.
Lee was promoted to Transport Minister in a recent state Cabinet reshuffle.
Also present at the handing over of duties were Permanent Secretary to the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry Hii Chang Kee and Youth and Permanent Secretary to the Youth and Sports Ministry Nancy Jolhi.