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Changes to tourism in the new norm must be addressed: Sarawak tourism chief

The re-opening of borders has not resulted in an increase in tourism activities, and accessibility (flights and public transportation) and capacity (labour) should be adjusted to meet the new norm, a press release stated.

This was said by Sarawak Tourism Federation President Audry Wan Ullok at the first instalment of the International Journal of Business Events and Legacies (IJBEL) Studio series held at Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus (Swinburne Sarawak) in Kuching recently.

Audry also said she hoped to leave an enduring legacy as a tourism industry leader through corporate social responsibility initiatives and believes that the state could do more to brand Borneo as an exotic destination.

Following the launch of IJBEL by Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak) and Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) in March, IJBEL subsequently launched its IJBEL Studio Series.

The online journal was launched by Sarawak Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Dato Sri Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah at Curtin Malaysia on March 16. The event also saw the signing of memoranda of understanding (MoU) with Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Sarawak and the Sarawak Research Society as partners in the journal.

The first IJBEL Studio session at Swinburne Sarawak. PHOTO: CURTIN MALAYSIA

The journal is designed as a platform for industry students, academics, researchers, practitioners and policymakers to understand the relationship between hosting business events and correlating activities such as management, economics and entrepreneurship among many other disciplines.

Curtin Malaysia’s involvement in IJBEL includes its Dean of Faculty of Business Professor Andreas Zins, who has considerable experience in managing international journals, being editor-in-chief. Faculty staff also serve as managing editors, editorial secretariat staff, and editorial assistants and reviewers.

IJBEL also administers the event series IJBEL Studio as a secondary platform. Professor Zins, who moderated the inaugural session, described it as a significant milestone in ini tiating dialogue and triggering issues about destination marketing between academics and industry practitioners.

Among the Studio’s distinguished speakers were Audry Wan Ullok; Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau Chief Operating Officer Noor Ahmad Hamid; and Director of the Business and Social Innovation Centre at Swinburne Sarawak Dr Jeffrey Jee Teck Weng.

Swinburne Sarawak Executive Dean of Research Professor Ida Fatimawati Adi Badiozaman delivered the opening keynote.

Meanwhile, Noor Ahmad emphasised the impact of tourism on nature, sustainability and society. He called for improvement in Malaysia’s perceptual positioning as a destination by understanding motivation, needs and story.

To achieve this, there is a need for clear unique selling points and a distinctive listing of product offerings, as well as a targetted approach with the support of strong research teams to study the motivation, needs and narratives of target customers.