STB Aims For Sustainable Collaboration With Economy Ministry

KIULU: Sabah Tourism Board (STB), in line with its vision, hopes to establish a sustainable collaboration with the federal Economy Ministry to comprehensively develop rural tourism in Sabah, said its chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.

Such strategic partnership aims to serve as a catalyst for economic empowerment within rural communities to address the crucial goal of alleviating poverty.

On Wednesday, Deputy Economy Minister Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib visited the Tagal Eco-Tourism initiative in Kampung Poturidong, Kiulu to witness firsthand the potential of community-based tourism in economically empowering rural residents.

Accompanied by Joniston, who is also Kiulu Assemblyman, Hanifah was joined in the visit by some 30 participants of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Summit held in Kota Kinabalu.

In her discussion with Joniston, Hanifah conveyed her regard for the tagal system, acknowledging its potential as a significant tourist attraction.

The tagal system, practised by indigenous communities, involves temporarily prohibiting fishing in rivers.

This helps restore fisheries, maintain river cleanliness, and generate income for the local communities.

Hanifah emphasised the need for Sabah to capitalise on its unique attractions, citing the tagal system, unspoiled natural beauty, and picturesque rivers as prime examples.

Recognising the significance of rural tourism, the Deputy Minister agreed on the need to improve basic amenities for the convenience of visitors.

She stressed that her Ministry would look into how it could play a role in further developing rural tourism in Sabah.

Meanwhile, Joniston expressed hope that the Sabah Tourism Board would be given the opportunity to present its comprehensive rural tourism plans to the Ministry, aligning their strategies for maximum impact.

With a focus on fostering sustainable practices, he said any collaborative initiative with the Ministry seeks to create a win-win situation by promoting responsible tourism while improving the state’s socio-economic landscape.

During the visit, Hanifah also inspected the ongoing construction of a bridge that would benefit 3,000 people across several villages once completed.


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