Bintulu- Sarawak aims to make Bintulu town into a global arena for international kite-making and kite-flying competitions.
The Sarawak tourism authorities have decided to make this northern Sarawak town a base for kites following its success in turning Miri into an international jazz venue and Kuching into a world ethnic music platform.
An International Borneo Kite Festival will be held here in this town, dubbed the gas capital of Sarawak, from August 18 to 26 to promote Bintulu to kite lovers worldwide.
Top kite-makers from 20 countries throughout the world have been invited to participate and already 74 champion kite-flyers from countries stretching from New Zealand to the United States have confirmed their attendance, said Bintulu Resident Dr Razali Abon.
"This event is going to be a very special one. We will get to see all sorts of uniquely-designed kites from all over the world being showcased in one venue.
"Imagine the variety of kites that would be put on display. China alone has so many provinces, each with its own special kites, unique shape and colour and patterns.
"We are going to see kites from at least 10 provinces from China, from New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Philippine, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, Korea, France, Germany, Italy, England, Holland and the United States," said Razali, who is also the event`s organising chairman.
The nine-day kite extravaganza would be held at the site of the old Bintulu Airport, located right in the heart of this town.
The area is as big as three football fields combined, and is sited near major hotels and motels in the town.
Razali said this year`s kite festival here would be the grandest ever and if proven to be successful, would feature as the town`s main tourism draw every year.
To make the nine-day festival more attractive, the organisers have decided to hold various types of kite contests, for national types of kites and for international ones.
For the national event, the state had invited participants from all over Malaysia, including renowned kite flyers from the east coast states and Malacca.
"There will also be kite-making contests for the kids and for members of the public, kite-stunt performances, kite colouring contests and the like.
"There would also be cultural and traditional events to make us well-known to the international audience who will be attending the kite festivities," he said.
If it proves to be a success, this International Borneo Kite Festival would become another tourism niche product for Sarawak.
Source: http://thestaronline.com (28 Juni 2007)