KOTA KINABALU: The National Tourism Policy (DPN) 2020-2030 is expected to be a driving force for the development of rural tourism, especially in Sabah, says Mesilou Atamis Homestay Association chairman Azizul Julirin.
Azizul said in enhancing cultural, art, heritage, recreational and other eco-tourism products available in the countryside, rural tourism would be profitable to the people in the areas and this would subsequently contribute to the state’s economic growth.
“The launch of the policy is timely.
“Rural tourism operators, especially in Sabah, were severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and they need clearer directions to help motivate them in promoting and reviving domestic tourism in particular, ” said Azizul who has been actively involved in the rural tourism industry.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, when launching the DPN online on Dec 23, said the policy aimed to ensure continuity of the country’s tourism industry as well as make Malaysia the preferred tourism destination at the global level once more.
He said this would be achieved by strengthening competitiveness, encouraging sustainable and inclusive tourism sector development as well as planning for future disasters.
He elaborated that the policy would be implemented through six main strategic thrusts, including transformation of governance, creating an inclusive tourism investment zone and intensifying digitisation in the tourism sector.
In addition, the core thrusts involve enriching tourists’ experience and satisfaction, strengthening commitment to sustainable tourism and increasing human capital capacity in all tourism sub-sectors.
Coalition of Sabah Rural Tourism Association president Walter Kandayon said the core thrusts outlined in the policy, especially on increasing human capital capacity, was appropriate as it was necessary to produce more highly skilled workers in the sector.
Walter said courses in the tourism field such as hospitality, financial management, marketing and promotion are very much needed, especially in Sabah to achieve the objectives.
In a related development, Walter said the quality of infrastructures such as road and Internet networks in Sabah’s rural areas must be improved as most of the “hidden gem” destinations in the state are located there.
He added that areas in the state with forests had the potential to be used as research tourism products and attract more researchers to come to Sabah. — Bernama
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