March 7, 2023

Sabah seduces travellers with natural landmarks

ITB Berlin News speaks with Datuk Christina Liew, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment for Sabah in an exclusive interview about beaches, cruise tourism and conservation efforts.

What are you presenting at ITB Berlin 2023?
We are presenting “intrepid travel”, slow travel, eco and nature tourism. The island and beaches of Sabah continue to be highly sought-after. Being blessed with amazing natural landmarks, we welcome travellers to explore these destinations. 

In addition to introducing our products, we are receptive to forging new opportunities such as new flight routes, cruise tourism and even niche markets such as student groups, research or golf. 

Can you tell us about your ambitions to become a top sailing destination?
There is certainly potential for sailing in this region. Almost annually, Sails Malaysia includes Sabah in their route. I believe with the new Sabah My Second Home, an expatriate programme for migrating to Sabah, there might be more interest in this area as well. Touching on sailing, I can’t help but mention cruise tourism. We hope to see more of Sabah included in cruise itineraries. 

How are you looking to promote conservation efforts in Sabah?
Efforts are focused on sustaining conservation rather than just developing. Sabah became a tourist attraction years ago due to the nature and wildlife offerings we already had. The Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre in Sandakan, established in the 1960s, was the first Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre in the world and adjacent to this is the Bornean Sun Bear Rehabilitation Centre. These are efforts driven by the Government. However, on a social level, the increased interest in community-based tourism will also aid conservation efforts not just in terms of nature and wildlife, but the preservation of our rich culture. 

Hall 26 / Stand 103 / 104 / 115

Photo: © Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Sabah