22 November 2023

Small Means A Lot; Micro-Tourism in Sarawak

By Shella Georgina Beatrice

Micro-tourism is an innovative approach to travel. It is believed to contribute to various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Micro-tourism refers to travel to nearby places and requires only short-distance trips. It also reduces the chances of infection during travel and allows tourists to travel safely during this short trip.

Micro-tourism and the SDGs 

Specifically, micro-tourism helps in achieving SDGs13, which is to take urgent action to combat climate change. Shortened travel distances will reduce carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles. 

Micro-tourism will not only bring back the communities’ livelihoods but also reenergize local communities and improve local economies. This leads to SDG8, which promotes sustainable, inclusive economic growth, and SDG11, which makes cities and settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.

Small Means A Lot 

In a world fascinated by magnificence and huge landmarks, the essence of small-scale tourism often goes unnoticed. However, “small means a lot” serves as a mantra to unveil the hidden gems and untapped potential within micro-tourism, a realm where modest destinations leave an indelible mark on the hearts of visitors. 

Micro-tourism is not about towering skyscrapers. It is about venturing to the outskirts and small villages and getting involved with local communities for authentic experiences. These hidden havens might lack the fame of their larger counterparts. But though they are smaller in size, they could offer more in terms of charm and closeness. 

One of the most enchanting aspects of small-scale tourism is the genuine connection forged between tourists and the local community. In a small village, every encounter becomes a personal exchange, a chance to delve into the rich tapestry of local culture. Whether it is sharing a meal with a family or participating in a traditional festival, these immersive experiences create lasting memories that are far removed from the impersonal nature of more popular destinations.

Moreover, micro-tourism often champions sustainable practises, emphasising the preservation of local ecosystems and traditions. Small-scale destinations thrive on responsible tourism, promoting a harmonious coexistence between tourists and the environment. Through community-based initiatives, tourists become stewards of conservation, contributing to the well-being of the locales they explore.

Impact of Micro-tourism 

The impact of micro-tourism extends beyond cultural enrichment and environmental stewardship. Micro-tourism breathes life into economies that might otherwise be overlooked. Small businesses flourish as tourists explore local markets, artisanal workshops, and family-owned establishments. The economic ripples are felt at the grassroots level, providing livelihoods and bolstering the resilience of these often marginalised communities.

In the realm of travel, big adventures often come in small packages. Sarawak is the largest region in Malaysia. Being located in Borneo, it exemplifies this notion through its burgeoning micro-tourism scene. While popular destinations worldwide draw crowds, Sarawak’s beauty lies in its lesser-known attractions, offering tourists a unique and intimate experience. 

In Sarawak, micro-tourism is not just a trend. It is a commitment to sustainable, responsible, and immersive travel experiences. The state’s lesser-explored destinations offer a rich tapestry of cultural, natural, and culinary wonders, inviting tourists to go beyond the conventional. As the world embraces the significance of small-scale tourism, Sarawak stands as a shining example of how “small” can indeed mean a lot in the realm of travel. 

Balancing Tourism and Preserving Authenticity 

As we celebrate the virtues of micro-tourism, it is essential to acknowledge the challenges these destinations face. Striking a delicate balance between attracting tourists and preserving the authenticity of the locale requires thoughtful planning and responsible tourism practises. Community involvement and sustainable development are paramount to ensuring that “small means a lot” continues to thrive without compromising the very essence that makes these places special. 

In today’s digital age, we also need to acknowledge the importance of information, which is further amplified by the widespread use of online platforms. Tourists rely on websites, social media, and travel forums to gather information about destinations, accommodations, and activities. Sarawak’s micro-tourism can leverage these platforms to highlight its unique offerings, engage with potential visitors, and create a community of informed and responsible tourists. 

The world of tourism extends far beyond the glitz and glamour of major attractions. “Small means a lot” encourages us to explore the attraction of modest destinations, where every nook and cranny holds a story waiting to be discovered. Micro-tourism embodies a celebration of connection, sustainability, and economic empowerment, proving that in the world of travel, sometimes it is the little things that truly mean a lot.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus. Shella Georgina Beatrice is the Coordinator for Foundation Studies, School of Foundation Studies. She is contactable at sbeatrice@swinburne.edu.my