KOTA KINABALU: Rural eco-tourism in Kiulu and Kadamaian is set to get a boost with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between the Kiulu Tourism Association (KTA) and Kadamaian Tourism Association (KATA) today.
The MoA is in response to the Sabah government’s decision to make Kiulu and Kadamaian rural eco-tourism development pilot projects.
The objective was announced by Chief Minister Musa Aman in the 2018 state budget.
Sabah Tourism Board chairman Joniston Bangkuai, who witnessed the event, hoped the initiative would encourage other districts in the state to collaborate in promoting rural eco-tourism.
The two-year agreement, which could be extended for three years, would see KTA and KATA become partners that would benefit from each other’s strength in the industry.
The MoA was signed on behalf of KTA and KATA by their respective presidents, Dr Edmon Guntis and Walter Kandayon. KTA has 31 members and KATA 41.
“This partnership will enable cooperation particularly in the sharing of knowledge and its application in tourism product development,” said Guntis.
He said the MoA was also part of the association’s strategy to conserve the environment, culture and tradition, as well as part of their marketing and training programme.
Kandayon said KATA joined in the initiative because of the close proximity of Kadamaian and Kiulu and the proven track record of both districts in attracting tourists.
He said the agreement would facilitate the creation of joint tourism packages to increase the flow of visitors.
Kadamaian and Kiulu have made good progress in rural eco-tourism in recent times.
Tourism products such as white water rafting, hiking, trekking, cycling, camping, accommodation, and traditional food and drinks are readily available in both areas.
The natural beauty and cleanliness of the countryside are big draws for both domestic and international visitors.
Adventure events such as running, cycling and rafting competitions are held regularly to attract thrill seekers.
Kiulu and Kadamaian together received about 100,000 visitors this year, bringing in revenue of more than RM4.5 million to the local economy.