LONELY Planet has picked Sarawak as part of its Best in Travel 2012 book!
Our State is listed as part of the top 10 regions for 2012 under Borneo, along with Sabah, Brunei and Kalimantan. It describes the region as “a tropical island getaway”.
The listing also states that “the indigenous Dayak peoples add a layer of intriguing cultural complexity and, of course, there is also that cutest of primates – the cheeky orang-utan”.
So what’s so exciting about a brief mention in the book?
Well Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel is an annual compilation of the best places to go and things to do all around the world. It draws on the knowledge, passion and miles travelled by Lonely Planet’s staff, authors and online community.
It’s described as “a year’s worth of travel inspiration to take you out of the ordinary and into some unforgettable experiences”.
Here’s what some of the reviewers have to say about it:
“When Lonely Planet talks the rest of the world listens. That’s why tourist boards all over the world await its top 10 lists with bated breath – inclusion practically guarantees a bumper year.” IRISH INDEPENDENT, IRELAND
“Practical and off-beat, far-flung and hyperlocal, this hits the conversation-starter-book jackpot. Use it to plan the best vacation of your life, or just indulge your fantasies by paging through it like high-gloss journey porn.” ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, USA
“Beautiful to look at and fun to read, Lonely Planet’s round-up is a must-own.” PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, USA
And Sarawak is featured in this major international travel guide! How cool is that?
Many of us have probably watched the travel programme called Globe Trekker on Astro. Well the series was originally titled Lonely Planet. That’s because the series was inspired by Lonely Planet’s publications!
So what does that mean for us in Sarawak? Well to begin with, those of us involved in the tourism industry should ensure they can offer quality products featuring the best the State has to offer in a sustainable manner. While we want to welcome tourists with open arms, we want to be able to continue welcoming them for years and years to come.
They should also come up with new tourism products — there’s so much more the State has to offer, but many tend to stick to the beaten track.
Next, those in related industries should also ensure that they offer good services without overcharging our guests. The Lonely Planet list tells readers: “Better still, your budget will go a long way here. A typical meal in a local coffee shop will only set you back US$2 and tourist numbers are only 10 per cent that of mainland Malaysia”.
So the last thing we want to do is upset our visitors. Not only will they not come back to the State, they will tell their friends in the real world, and the virtual one as well, not to come! That would be a sad state for our State!
For those of us who are not directly in the industry, we can still do our part. If there are tourists in need of help, let’s try to be as helpful as possible. I know I definitely appreciate the help locals have given me when I visit another town or city. It’s encounters like these that travellers remember. It’s encounters like these that make visits extra special.
Thanks to Lonely Planet, 2012 will be good practice for Sarawakians to do their best to develop the tourism industry. It will be a good step towards developments under the Sarawak Corridor for Renewable Energy (SCORE), under which tourism is a growth node.
Things are looking good for 2012. Looking forward to a bright new year!
To go to the Lonely Planet site, click on the link below: