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RM7 million to develop rural tourism next year
Published on: Saturday, December 02, 2023
By: Ricardo Unto
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RM7 million to develop rural tourism next year
Liew said the State Government has approved RM141.91 million for the Ministry for next year.
Kota Kinabalu: Sabah is targeting 2.8 million tourist arrivals next year, said State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew.

She said the expected tourism receipts generated from this figure is RM5.6 billion.

“This target is driven by the Ministry’s plan to intensify the organisation of iconic and internationally recognised events, especially to revive events, such as Mount Kinabalu Climbathon and also Sabah Fest,” she said in her winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly.

“The State Government has also approved an allocation worth RM7 million for rural tourism development next year,” she said.

She was grateful that the State Government had approved the allocation for the Sabah Convention Bureau.

“With this allocation, the business events segment can be further developed, especially in attracting more high-end tourists.”

She also said Sabah has almost reached its tourist arrival target this year. 

“As of September, tourist arrivals are as much as 1.88 million, with an estimated tourism receipts amounting to RM3.95 billion.

“This is an excellent increase with a growth rate of 58.2 per cent compared to last year.

“This significant increase was driven by the recovery in the number of flights to the State,” she said, adding that currently, there are 317 domestic flights a week.

As for international flights, there are 98 direct flights to here weekly from 13 international destinations since the re-opening of international borders in April 2022.

Liew said the State Government has approved RM141.91 million for the Ministry for next year.

“In line with the State Budget, the Ministry is committed to ensuring that the State’s tourism sector continues to grow and that the environment and cultural heritage are preserved and conserved.

“The Ministry and the six departments and agencies under it will plan programmes related to tourism, culture and the environment for implementation next year as best as possible.

“I will also ensure that the Ministry is always committed to contributing towards the recovery of the State’s economy, in line with the growth and strengthening of the tourism sector and the Sabah Maju Jaya Development Plan.”

In preparation for Visit Malaysia Year 2026, Liew said the Ministry will continue to provide support to upgrade and rehabilitate rural tourism products, especially areas where tourists focus not only on nature but also on heritage and culture.

Meanwhile, on Sulabayan Assemblyman Datuk Jaujan Sambakong’s suggestion, she said Sabah Parks had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Korea National Park Service for cooperation in Global Geopark management for five years.

“Sabah Parks has also started an initial discussion with the Shennongjia Global Geopark management agency in China for management cooperation.

“The Ministry is confident that this collaboration will further strengthen the management of Kinabalu Global Geopark,” she said.

On Jaujan’s other suggestion about introducing local tax in the tourism sector, Liew said the industry is under the Federal List in the Federal Constitution.

“However, the Ministry will look into the matter with the Finance Ministry.

“At the same time, the Ministry welcomes local authorities to also look into it so that it can be implemented under the existing enactment,” she said.

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