Increased interest shows Sabah's rural tourism sector back on its feet


Sabah Tourism Board chief executive officer Noredah Othman (centre -grey short) with the community at Eco Tourism Kampung Talungan, Kota Belud.

KOTA KINABALU: Signs of Sabah's rural tourism sector getting back on its feet have been seen in recent months after nearly two years in limbo owing to Covid-19 movement controls.

Kadamaian folk living in the foothills of Mount Kinabalu in Kota Belud district say they are now determined to promote their destinations and community-based tourism initiatives with better facilities for visitor comfort.

Since interstate travel was allowed in October last year and the Covid-19 swab test rule for Sabah was repealed last month, Kadamaian has recorded a steady increase in tourist visits.

Sabah Tourism Board (STB) chief executive officer Noredah Othman visited five attractions namely Porohon Garden, Eco-Tourism Tagal Kampung Talungan, Eco-Tourism Kampung Tambulion, Eco-Tourism Kalangadanku, and Karanahan View on Friday (Jan 28).

Porohon Garden and Karanahan View were privately owned attractions, with the others managed by the local community.

Noredah, who was accompanied by Federation of Rural Tourism Association Sabah (Fertas) president and Kadamaian Tourism Association (Kata) president Walter Kandayon, was on an official visit to get updates on rural and community-based tourism products.

"Kadamaian has the potential to develop into a world-class tourist destination. It has a wealth of natural charm, making it a great place for tourists from all over the world to come and visit.

"We admire the spirit of Kadamaian people in their efforts to empower themselves through rural tourism," said Noredah.

Kadamaian is one of Sabah’s fastest-developing rural tourism attractions, with the goal of becoming a world-class rural tourism destination by 2025.

In January 2019, Kadamaian received the Asean Community-Based Tourism Standard 2019-2021 recognition at the Asean Tourism Ministers’ Conference in Hanoi.

“STB will continue to engage with the community to ensure they have the skills and abilities needed to reach world-class status as well as assist them in obtaining the necessary funds to enable them to improve their facilities," Noredah said.

During the visit, the STB team also inspected upgraded facilities funded by Sabah New Deal grants at Porohon Garden, Eco-Tourism Tagal Kampung Talungan, and Karanahan View.

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