4 Sabah rural districts to develop eco-tourism

Musa-Aman-Rural-Tourism-RoadshowKOTA KINABALU: The districts of Kiulu, Ranau, Kadamaian and Tambunan are to develop eco-based tourism attractions in Sabah.

Only over an hour’s drive from Kota Kinabalu city, these rural districts will become hotspots for ‘lung-washing’ products that have the potential to attract local and foreign tourists, especially those from large cities.

“Despite being close to the city, districts that are suitable for this new product are largely rural,” said Sabah chief minister Musa Aman when launching the Rural Tourism Roadshow here today.

“I am sure that they will find these districts perfect in terms of getting some good air to breathe and in enjoying the greenery and landscape, some of which is mountainous.

Musa said in order for these four and other districts to start promoting their tourism products, commitment was needed from a wide range of stakeholders, including elected representatives.

“The District Tourism Action Council is one platform that can be used to brainstorm, plan, formulate and carry out activities that would appeal to tourists,” he said, adding that those already in the tourism sector, must also be willing to receive new information and training so as not to miss out from what tourism in a fast-paced world had to offer.

The state government, Musa said, acknowledged this initiative as a means to provide rural communities with an opportunity to have an alternative income besides traditional farming.

“With the right guidance and community level leadership, tourism can sustain lives and even lead to a paradigm shift in their thinking and in participating in government initiated policies on tourism.”

Musa said he hoped rural communities would learn more about tourism and the service industry as it would make them more innovative and competitive.

“This is how we make ourselves better,” he said. “There are many opportunities the communities can take up such as in operating lodges, tour guiding, acting as naturalists, and in marketing and promotions.

“To see this through, the government is committed to providing the necessary infrastructure to rural areas, such as better road conditions for easier access and to make the drive comfortable and safe and within the shortest amount of time.”

The state government, the chief minister said, would also like to see more young people from rural communities venturing into the tourism sector.

Musa said he was pleased with Sabah’s yearly tourism industry performance and added, “Despite challenges that we have faced, including security related, last year tourism generated an estimated RM7.2 billion receipts to Sabah’s economy.”

“The state government will work with investors on providing tourism-related facilities and properties to further market Sabah.”