Sarawak has joined the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) for Business Events and Tourism by establishing the GDSI Partnership Programme - Sarawak Region (GDSI-Sarawak Partner), which includes 30 committee members from local government ministries and agencies, academia, associations, and industry partners. This project and collaboration are a world first for Malaysia.
Sarawak's business events and tourism sustainability performance will be evaluated using the GDS-Index, a globally recognised benchmarking system. The evaluation will be based on 71 factors spread over four main areas: environmental performance, social progress performance, destination provider performance, and destination management performance. Sarawak's Post COVID-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) for Tourism, which aims to make Sarawak a leading destination for ecotourism and sustainable business events by 2030, is fully aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Destination Criteria.
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hambzah and named patron of the GDSI-Sarawak Partner, made it obvious that the index gives priority to business events and tourism but its underlying benefits to Sarawak in general, “It will support every industry in Sarawak to adopt best practices of sustainability. 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 are leading the evaluations as part of the GDSI-Sarawak Partner, which aims to lead the state's sustainable future through data consolidation, stakeholder engagement, and communication. Mr. Hii Chang Kee, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture Sarawak, leads the main committee, with the respective Chief Executive Officers of Business Events Sarawak and Sarawak Tourism Board serving as Task Leaders. The Ministry of Local Government & Housing Sarawak, the Ministry of Urban Development & Natural Resources Sarawak, Kuching North City Hall, and Kuching South City Council are among the other significant participants in the Partnership Programme.
GDSI-Sarawak Partner is currently consolidating data, and the results of Kuching's performance are scheduled to be announced in October. The programme will hold bi-annual check-ins to gather results, make recommendations, and revise policies that urge all parties and stakeholders to pledge their commitment.