In a world first for Malaysia, Sarawak is joining the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) for Business Events and Tourism by launching the GDSI Partnership Programme – Sarawak Region (GDSI-Sarawak Partner).
The Index is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Destination Criteria, which is part of Sarawak’s Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) for Tourism to make Sarawak a major destination for eco-tourism and sustainable business events by 2030.
Kuching city has been selected as the pilot project, which positions it as one of the 75 destinations in the world to undertake the GDS-Index. Upon successful completion and understanding, the assessment will expand to other cities in Sarawak such as Sibu, Miri, and other major towns i.
Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, minister of tourism, arts and culture Sarawak and GDSI-Sarawak Partner’s patron, said: “A proven and trusted system such as this will give us the necessary information and tools to help us make better decisions, improve business strategies, foster collaboration and innovation, promote Sarawak on a higher scale that is lucrative in today’s world thus, making our State a place we all want to live in.”
Sarawak’s 30 Committee members, under the GDSI-Sarawak Partner, are intended to promote the state’s sustainable future through data consolidation, stakeholder engagements and communication.
Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) CEO, Sharzede Datu Salleh Askor, said: “STB has actively organised various environmentally-oriented and skill-based programmes to not only advocate sustainability in tourism to urban, sub-urban and rural Sarawakians, but also empower the lower-income groups with the ability to upscale their income and have a sense of responsibility to fulfil the Responsible Tourism agenda to the fullest.”
Amelia Roziman, CEO of Business Events Sarawak, a non-profit organisation aimed at increasing Sarawak’s competitiveness, said: “More business events planners are making decisions based on sustainability performances and this matter goes as deep as evaluating social inclusiveness and the return on investment of their events. These factors also affect international and national delegates’ decision to visit Sarawak for business events.”
To date, GDSI-Sarawak Partner is in the process of data consolidation and the result of Kuching’s performance is expected to be released by October. The initiative will hold bi-annual check-ins to compile results, recommendations, and update policies that encourage a pledge of commitment from all involved parties and stakeholders.