KUCHING (Nov 16): A 10-episode series featuring 360-interactive video technology has been officially launched to promote Sarawak through its 10 core tourism attractions.
According to state Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, the ‘Sarawak 360 Experience: The Stories from the Heart’ signifies Sarawak as an ‘experiential destination with myriad sights, sounds, stories, and scents’.
“Now using 360 interactive video technology, we are exploring a new medium of storytelling with Sarawak content,” he said at the launch that took place at Kuching Old Court House yesterday.
Abdul Karim said the ‘360 Experience’ should enhance the interaction and engagement of Sarawak’s natural beauties with the worldwide online audiences via YouTube and Facebook pages, allowing viewers to ‘immerse themselves in the tales of Sarawak’.
“The Sarawak 360 Experience offers a new way for viewers to interact and experience stories as a participant in a first-person narrative; rather than merely watching, listening, or reading a story from a third-person vantage point.
“These immersive videos put you at the centre of the scene, allowing you to look left, right, up, down and behind you. You can experience the 360 videos on your phone, tablet, or computer — no headset needed.”
Abdul Karim said the the ‘Sarawak 360 Experience’ would focus on the ‘everyday tourism heroes of Sarawak’ sharing their fondest memories with visitors and travel experiences in the state, as well as providing insight into their aspirations going forward post-Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the 10-episode series covered the most well-known tourist attractions in the state, with five to seven minutes of 360 interactive video per episode.
The highlights of the episodes include the Semenggoh orang-utan sanctuary, kayaking in Semadang, cycling in Kuching, Bako National Park, Tanoti Handicraft, Batang Ai longhouse, Sibu and the Central Region, Miri diving, Mulu and the Pinnacles, and the Bario homestay.
The series hosts are two local personalities, Sharifah Arafah a.k.a. ‘Arabyrd’ and Miss World Malaysia 2018, Larissa Ping,
“The videos will also feature 10 local tourism heroes, including a park ranger with almost 20 years of experience with the orangutans in Semenggoh, a kayaking guide from Semadang, a cycling guide from Kampong No 6 in Kuching, a local master weaver from Tanoti Handicraft, a divemaster in Miri, and a homestay owner in Bario,” said Abdul Karim, adding that filming kicked off in May this year and the officially launch was supposed to be held in September, but had to be postponed due to the multiple unexpected lockdowns because of Covid-19.
Season 1 consists of five episodes covering in and around Kuching, with the first episode being broadcast live yesterday in conjunction with the launch ceremony; the remaining episodes would be rolled out every two weeks.
Abang Johari said Season 2 would be aired in February 2022, featuring the central and northern regions of Sarawak.
Adding on, he said the ministry was proud to sponsor the virtual-experience project through the Association of Sarawak Inbound Agencies (ASIA) with the support from 10 of its members across the state.
ASIA is an association of inbound tour operators in the business of managing the travel and tour arrangements for visitors to Sarawak.
Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Kuching, it represents the majority of inbound tour operators in Sarawak, including those in Miri and Sibu.
“With the support of my ministry, ASIA has partnered with Zass Puravida, a local Sarawak creative production house, and also with Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), in the making of the Sarawak 360 Virtual Tour,” said Abdul Karim, who also pointed out that Season 1 episodes would be promoted domestically.
For Season 2, he said there would be a promotion drive focusing on some of the major tourism markets in Asean, Europe and the Oceania.
“The project is an important part of Sarawak’s Post-Covid Destination Recovery Plan, aimed at maintaining and enhancing Sarawak’s destination brand awareness.”
The ‘Sarawak 360 Experience’ videos would be featured on both ASIA and STB social media channels, as well as on ASIA website’s special 360 Experience landing page https://asia.org.my/sarawak-360experience/.
The project had also received support from Sarawak Forestry Corporation and MASWings during the filming process.
Among those attending the launch ceremony were Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak’s permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee, and ASIA chairman Philip Yong.