KOTA KINABALU: The development of new tourism products is on the cards in the state's tourism development agenda for 2020, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew.
"For instance, we are in the process of providing a 'home' for our endangered pangolin. Work on developing the proposed pangolin sanctuary in the Tawau Hills Park is likely to commence this year," she said.
Given the increasing interest in Sabah as a cruise destination and with the state being no stranger to cruise vessels, she said Sabah is poised to be at the forefront of promoting the cruise tourism industry, which is touted to scale new heights.
"New cruise ships will be bringing thousands of tourists from this year.
"The good news is that there is a proposal to base one cruise ship in Sabah, a first for the state, ” Liew said.
She said this proposal will see the first foreign ship to make Sabah a home port.
Apart from these, she said Sabah is in favour of promoting domestic hubbing of cruises between the city and major towns such as Kota Kinabalu, Kudat, Sandakan, Tawau and Lahad Datu for tourists to explore and experience the natural attractions and rich cultural heritage.
Liew, who is also Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, described year 2020 as challenging by virtue of Visit Malaysia 2020.
It is also the Year of Culture and Tourism set by Malaysia and China to promote greater people-to-people contact and sustainable socio-economic growth.
"As we wait expectantly for an upsurge of tourist arrivals, I call on all Sabahans to welcome our visitors with warm hospitality and informational support," she said in a statement on Thursday (Jan 23).
She also called on Sabahans to have a positive outlook in life and work together to make Sabah better economically and socially.
In her Chinese New Year message, she said as the Chinese usher in the year of the Rat, it was important to take stock of what has been achieved and prepare new resolutions for a vibrant year ahead.
"We welcome the Year 2020 with new aspirations and soaring hopes for accelerated development and for an improved quality of life for all citizens.”
"The year 2020 is predicted to be a lucky year, I am optimistic for Malaysia's economy to fare better. Embrace a positive outlook and turn any challenges or threats into opportunities in your personal or professional life," Liew said.
She added that prayers are a must for the preservation of peace and harmony in the state.
“Sabah is truly an exemplary state in the sense that multi-racial unity prevails and all communities participate in the Chinese New Year celebration because we enjoy a high-level of cultural and religious tolerance, ” Liew said.
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