KOTA KINABALU: Sabah should turn the state into a premier ecotourism destination as the place is unique.
Uni-Technologies Sdn Bhd consultant Professor Amran Hamzah said Sabah has natural beauty, world heritage sites such as the UNESCO Kinabalu Park, Danum Valley Conservation Area, Sipadan island and the upcoming National Kinabalu Geopark that is to be gazetted as UNESCO geosite.
“We have been selling ourselves too cheap in the past. There is a need to market it as a Sabah premier destination as there are no other places like the state.”
He was speaking during his presentation on Covid-19:Prospect and Process of Preparing for a new Tourism Landscape topic during the National Tourism Plan 2020-2030 roadshow at Sabah International Convention Centre here recently.
Amran said in order for Sabah to offer a premier ecotourism destination, the state has to have good governance and focus on the synergy of tourism and conservation.
“To excel in sustainability, we must have the appetite for sustainability certifications. We have to sell Sabah as a sustainable industry,” he said, adding when the borders reopen, there will be international tourists who are willing to pay good money with unique travelling and customised experience in the state.
Citing an example of a resilient and sustainable homestay Miso Walai in Kinabatangan, Amran said it still gets compensation from various sources despite the Covid-19 pandemic impacts on tourism.
“Miso Walai in Kinabatangan, being one of the top homestays in the country, it does not just sell as a tourism attraction but has a systematic community reforestation programme.
“They are badly affected, but because 20 per cent of their incomes are from reforestation programmes by the government and donors, they still could compensate for losses in tourism,”he said, adding they also applied green recoveries grants available worldwide.