Sabah's rich ethnic heritage can be a big tourism draw, says Jafry

KOTA KINABALU: All ethnic and cultural associations in Lahad Datu and Tawau districts are urged to uphold their respective traditions to ensure the continuity of their beliefs amid modernisation.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin (pic) said it was important for these associations to preserve traditions and cultural practices for future generations.

It also needs to be marketed as a unique cultural tourism product, he said, adding that the ministry was willing to assist and work with these associations for this purpose.

“We are willing to help these ethnic and cultural associations develop the industry through the richness of our cultural diversity,” Jafry said after a recent meeting with industry players from the Lahad Datu and Tawau districts.

ALSO READ: Sabah's ethnic associations urged to continue promoting diverse cultures

The meeting was attended by over 30 ethnic associations including the Sabah Cocos association, Tawau Banjar association, Idaan Segama Cultural Arts Association and the Tidung Sabah Community association, among others.

Jafry said the ministry, through the Sabah Cultural Board, will take the initiative to identify cultures or ethnic groups that are close to extinction, but have the potential to be revived and developed due to the richness of their cultures.

He said the richer the cultures and traditions, the easier it is to market them as a form of ethnic-based tourism.

ALSO READ: Hajiji: Ethnic heritage must not be swept by globalisation

The meeting also touched on issues relating to plans and initiatives for strengthening tourism through culture and organising a state-level Ethnic Day celebration, as well as building a cultural hall and gallery in Lahad Datu.

“Such initiatives can help preserve cultural heritage in Sabah and provide economic benefits to local communities,” Jafry said.

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