Sarawak is the first Malaysian state joining the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) for Business Events and Tourism by launching the GDSI Partnership Programme – Sarawak Region (GDSI-Sarawak Partner) comprising 30 committee members consisting of local government ministries and agencies, academia, associations, and industry partners.
To kickstart the Index, Kuching city has been selected as the pilot project which positions Kuching as 1 of the 75 progressive 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 in the future.
Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak and appointed GDSI-Sarawak Partner’s Patron, was clear that while the Index prioritises business events and tourism, its underlying value will benefit Sarawak at large.
Steering the assessments are Sarawak’s 30 Committee members, under the GDSI-Sarawak Partner, to lead the state’s sustainable future through data consolidation, stakeholder engagements and communication. The main committee is chaired by Mr. Hii Chang Kee, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture Sarawak with the respective Chief Executive Officers of Business Events Sarawak and Sarawak Tourism Board as Task Leaders.
Other key players in the Partnership Programme include the Ministry of Local Government & Housing Sarawak, Ministry of Urban Development & Natural Resources Sarawak, Kuching North City Hall, and Kuching South City Council. Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) have been actively advocating Responsible Tourism among visitors and stakeholders alike through its various greening initiatives.
The GDS-Index is a global benchmarking system that will rank Sarawak’s business events and tourism sustainability performance. The assessment will be based on 71 indicators across 4 key areas which are environmental performance, social progress performance, destination supplier performance, and destination management performance.
The Index is fully aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Destination Criteria which is part and parcel of Sarawak’s Post Covid-19 Development Strategy.