Sabah’s Rural Tourism Community proposed at UNWTO

KOTA KINABALU — Last year October, Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai has proposed a proposal to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to focus on promoting rural community tourism.

During his visit to Samarkand, Uzbekistan in October 16, STB chairman Datuk Joniston highlight the importance of encompassing all community segments in global tourism discussions and development during the 44th UNWTO Affiliate Members Plenary Session, according to The Star.

“I propose placing a particular emphasis on rural community tourism to ensure inclusion of all community segments, particularly in developing countries, in UNWTO’s tourism development and promotion agendas,”

“In Sabah, Malaysia, we have been vigorously advocating for rural tourism as a means of empowering rural communities to benefit from tourism, not just urban areas,” said Bangkuai.

Introducing this approach will serve as an alternative income source for the rural population and a catalyst for fostering cooperation within these communities to develop tourism within their area, but also generate awareness on the need to protect the environment, envisaged Bangkuai.

He led a delegation of STB board members and management staff to the 25th UNWTO General Assembly in Samarkand, a city in southeastern Uzbekistan.

During this session, Bangkuai also highlighted that Sabah is one of three destinations worldwide to boast a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Unesco) triple crown site.

This status was conferred following the declaration of Kinabalu National Geopark as The Kinabalu Unesco Global Geopark on May 24 this year, he said.