KUCHING, Dec 4 — A number of tourism players in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) comprising United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman want to include Sarawak in their tour packages, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) said.

Its marketing director Mary Wan Mering said this was indicated by the encouraging responses from these industry players to the Sarawak tourism packages promoted by STB at the Dubai Expo 2020’s Malaysia Pavilion since December 26 last year.

“Many have expressed their interest in Sarawak’s Adventure and Nature-based packages as they have shown great keenness for Sarawak’s lush rainforests and its abundance in national parks such as the Unesco World Heritage Site Mulu National Park,” she said in a statement today.

STB’s participation at the Ecotourism Week of the expo aimed to penetrate the Middle East market, tapping the large population of expatriates living in the UAE who are mostly from Europe, America and Asian countries.

The Ecotourism Week at the Malaysia Pavilion showcase was launched by Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri with the STB’s booth showcasing Sarawak’s Culture, Adventure, Nature, Food and Festival (CANFF) with Responsible Tourism (RT) and sustainability in focus.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah will attend the expo from January 6 to 10 to further strengthen Sarawak’s presence among Malaysia’s participation at the expo.

Expo 2020 Dubai, the first to be held in the Middle East region and the third largest global event in terms of economic and cultural impact after the Olympics and the World Cup, is held from October 1, 2021 until March 31, 2022 with 192 participating countries, attracting some 25 million visitors.

Originally scheduled in 2020 but postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisers maintained the name “Expo 2020 Dubai” for marketing and branding purposes. — Bernama