The Malaysian state of Sabah is back under the spotlight, as wild, untouched places increasingly appeal to travellers. We asked Noredah Othman General Manager, Sabah Tourism Board, to give us an update on the destination.
Sabah’s Community Based Tourism (CBT) has been growing. This is timely, as Sabah receives a large number of return visitors, so it is necessary for the state to provide new options to explore Sabah beyond the commercial and well-developed tourism sites. CBT has, in essence, brought-in something new for visitors in addition to providing economic growth in the state’s interior areas. Meanwhile, for the Business Events segment, the Sabah International Convention Centre opened its doors in February 2020. The facility, located within the perimeter of the Kota Kinabalu city centre can host up to 5,000 delegates.
The Covid crisis has made people more aware of the environment and sustainable tourism. Will this be an advantage for Sabah in Post-Covid times?
Environmental awareness and sustainability have been pivotal subjects even prior to Covid. For example, the world-renowned diving site, Sipadan, is to be closed for one month every December in order to allow time for restoration. The number of climbers allowed on Mt Kinabalu has also been reduced. And along the Kinabatangan river, where the forest has been fragmented, the Sabah State Government has begun the process of reclaiming the land and creating an improved corridor for the migration of wildlife as they move along the riverbank.
Your message to the world?
Sabahan Hospitality is undeniably apparent to most visitors, with residents taking increasing pride in preserving their culture through the initiatives of Community Based Tourism and homestays, or by showcasing their handicrafts. We are eagerly waiting for our borders to reopen so we can once again welcome visitors to experience our Enchanting Sabah.
Noredah Othman – General Manager, Sabah Tourism Board