Sabah's Tourism Board and Cultural Board team up to promote cultural tourism

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Tourism Board (STB) and Sabah Cultural Board will embark on a collaboration to develop new strategies to promote cultural tourism, particularly in rural destinations.

Cultural Board chairman Datuk Titing Putang highlighted the Murut Cultural Centre in Tenom district as one of the attractions that could do with a marketing boost.

Titing, who led his board's delegation for an engagement meeting with STB chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai on Tuesday (Nov 16), said such a cultural centre located in the interior can generate interest but promotion is lacking.

Opened in 1996, the Murut Cultural Centre was the second largest after the Penampang Cultural Centre and recorded about 10,000 visitors per year, with only about 200 being foreign tourists, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This centre features traditional music and costumes from 13 Murut sub-ethnic (groups) and traditional music.

“It’s a waste to just put it on display without someone to see them.

"If tourists are coming, it will benefit everyone,” he said in a statement on Thursday (Nov 18), following the engagement meeting at the STB office here.

Bangkuai, meanwhile, said both agencies complemented each other and a strategic approach can be adopted to effectively market culture-based tourism, thereby boosting the state’s overall tourism sector.

“We need to find ways to encourage people, especially foreigners, to travel to rural districts and get them to visit existing cultural centres, for example.

“Another (segment) is adventure-seeking tourists. We can showcase handicraft and cultural dances to these visitors before they go trekking,” said Bangkuai.

Both parties also believed it was vital to work together to improve cultural tourism packages along with eco/agro-tourism for relevant destinations such as the Tenom and Keningau districts.

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