Sandakan needs a tourist information centre, says Elopura assemblyman

KOTA KINABALU: An assemblyman says he's found himself stepping into the shoes of a tourist guide in Sandakan due to the absence of a tourist information centre to guide visitors to places of interest in the district.

Calvin Chong Ket Kiun (Warisan-Elopura) said the first thing tourists would do upon touching down in Sandakan was to find other tourist destinations apart from the conventional ones.

"I have been approached at the airport, and some have asked me to take them around. I suddenly became a tourist guide. It is fine, but to have an information centre would be helpful," he said during the question-and-answer session at the State Assembly sitting here Wednesday (April 24).

He also highlighted that the existing tourism packages did not have spillover effects on locals in the district.

"Foreign tourists usually opt for packages for convenience. They do not try out restaurants in town or do any activities outside their packages. So how does this benefit locals in Sandakan?" he asked.

Chong also questioned the Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry about its effort to promote tourism in Sandakan. Its minister, Datuk Christina Liew, replied that in the last three years, the ministry had implemented three tourism development projects costing about RM500,000, while the Tourism, Arts, and Culture Ministry had spent another RM1.89mil on its 10 projects in the district.

"These allocations are channelled towards physical infrastructures to enhance security, comfort and functionality of these basic tourism facilities for the benefit of our tourists," she said.

She added that issues pertaining to the information centre were under the jurisdiction of the district officers or municipal council presidents, who also act as the tourism sector heads in their respective areas.

"If you have any input from tourism players on how to better the tourism industry in your area, please reach out to the tourism sector heads so your views can be channelled to us," she said.

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