Tourism is being changed by the impact of technology. E-Tourism is gaining traction as many travellers have to form a plan in mind before arriving.
Travel planning includes much research about the destination, which is done through the Internet. Travellers look for images, videos, social media posts, reviews and events all in one place.
Sarawak aims to take advantage of e-tourism by having community-based tourism be integral to the industry and boost tourism.
The e-Pelancongan Online Learning Course was launched in November 2020 by PANDei, with the initiative hoping to spark the interest of community-based tourism in the state.
The course is free of charge for all to take part in, with no limitations. You can start the course at any time you feel like it, and the learning period is flexible.
By the end of the learning course, you will be awarded an e-certificate of participation. The course can be joined by visiting the official website.
At the moment, the course is only available in Malay, but they are working on English and Mandarin language versions.
Once enrolled for the course, you will learn how to practice responsible tourism concepts and gain knowledge on different types of tourism that can be developed in Sarawak.
Additionally, the course will also teach you about business events and their role in positioning Sarawak as a preferred tourist destination.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (MoTAC) Permanent Minister, Mr. Hii Chang Kee says that the effects of tourism should benefit the local communities and not only tour companies or destination owners.
The course aims to produce more licensed tourist guides in order to boost tourism to Sarawak, especially after the sharp decline in 2020.
Over 400 people have enrolled themselves in this course, and this number continues to rise as tourism sees an increase when borders start to reopen.
Especially for more rural areas in Sarawak, tourism could help in their development by generating income for the community.
According to MoTAC Minister, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, tourist guides in Sarawak have contributed to the increase of 5.22% in tourist arrivals in 2019 through the Visit Sarawak Campaign.
The online tourist market in cities and towns are quite developed and diversified in its offering of products and services, but the same should be said for rural Sarawak.
Local guides who have been certified by the course can aid in the development of rural areas by collaborating with leaders of local communities to list accommodation units and experiences on many online portals for ease of discovery.
By growing community-based tourism through the Internet, tourism can bring many benefits to both tourists and the communities.