KUCHING: The state is looking at developing and promoting sustainable coastal tourism in the south.
Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state government had engaged a consultant to study such a potential in Lundu, Sematan, Telok Melano as well as parts of Bau and Santubong.
The study, he said, was expected to be completed within a year.
“There are many iconic products, including four national parks, in these areas.
“The study is being carried out to balance development with the need to protect these areas, helping to maintain their natural beauty and ensuring that their long-term vitality as tourism destinations be retained,” he told reporters at Tourism Malaysia’s Hari Raya open house here yesterday.
He believed that some parts of the coastal areas in Sematan and Lundu were as good if not better that those in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
“The waters are also better than in Kota Kinabalu.”
Johari said although most of the areas had marketable tourism products, they needed to be improved, especially in terms of facilities, as tourists nowadays had a greater understanding of the impact of their travel than before and were demanding more sustainable offerings.
“We have found that there is a need to protect coastal zones as well and therefore, we have engaged experts to carry out studies and develop approaches and strategies that would allow for better planning and management of coastal tourism activities.”
Johari added that hinterland tourism was also in the framework, adding that the study would focus on areas around Bakun.