SIBU: A river cruise will offer locals and tourists a panoramic view along the mighty Rajang River.
According to United Chinese Association (UCA) Sibu president Ngieng Ping Sing, his shipbuilding company is building the vessel that can accommodate about 80 people at any one time.
He added that the vessel, set to be completed this year, would not ply on a daily basis but would be rented out to interested groups upon reservation.
“We have yet to work out the details but this boat will be rented out to interested groups with a minimum number of persons for a certain number of hours. Locals and visitors in groups can make the booking with us for day or night cruises along Rajang and Igan rivers.
“The boat will not have accommodation facilities so it is just for short cruises, for example from 6pm till 10pm. There are two decks, where people can mingle and enjoy themselves on the roofed upper deck.
“I think this is good for tourism as tourists can enjoy the panoramic view along the Rajang River,” he told The Borneo Post at UCA Sibu’s Chinese New Year gathering here last Friday evening, where he was asked to elaborate on a point in his speech earlier.
Ngieng pointed out the boat would provide a venue for groups of people to enjoy the river view and should be suitable for wedding functions and small gatherings.
Asked where this boat would be berthed and the exact routes, he said they would need to find a suitable wharf first before coming up with further details.
Earlier, Minister of International Trade and E-Commerce Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh said a cruise along Sungai Rajang was being worked out to boost tourism in Sibu.
Previously, a Myanmar-based river cruise company which ran a five-star floating hotel, the Pandaw Cruise along the 640km Rajang River from July 2009 until 2012, cited low profit margin and logistical and operational difficulties for ceasing the operation, according to media reports.
Nevertheless, the nine-day river cruise which had journeyed along the river from Sibu to Kanowit, Song, Kapit, Pelagus, Sarikei and Tanjung Manis before returning to Sibu, had attracted tourists especially those from overseas.
Tourists had experienced first-hand cultures of the various communities along the river, besides sampling a myriad of local delicacies as its itinerary had included a stop-over in Kanowit, visit to a rubber plantation, Fort Emma, a handicraft centre and Teresang Market in Kapit.