Need to preserve beauty of Sabah to ensure tourism remains sustainable

PENAMPANG: Tourism players want Sabah’s tourism to remain sustainable with continuous conservation of its natural heritage and biodiversity in 33 years to come.

Deputy Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin said Sabah, being the second largest state in Malaysia, has a massive potential to contribute in bringing large arrival of tourists into the country by 2050.

“We expect tourist arrival will grow but we have to ask ourselves how this tourism growth impacts the environment.

“There is a need to have plans. Therefore the aspirations of Sabah people, especially those in tourism, are vital to ensure the industry stays sustainable and the environment remains preserved as the nation develops,” she said.

Mas Ermieyati was speaking at the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) dialogue for Sabah tourism players at the Penampang Cultural Building here today.

Speaking to reporters, she noted that the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has listed Malaysia among the top 12 countries that have the highest number of tourist arrival.

“I see Sabah as a big potential (to boost arrival) and the UNWTO statistic needs to be taken into account to further propel arrival of tourists from abroad.

“Can we become top 10 or 5 five in the world in years to come? The government needs the view and aspiration of Sabah people because the state has many interesting places and cultures with its diverse ethnic background.”

Mas Ermieyati stressed all these needed to be shared so the people’s hopes and aspirations could be highlighted, which would assist in the implementation of 2050 national tourism policy.

This will ensure the government will take into account the sustainable culture, heritage, and eco-tourism in the state, she added.

In sharing her personal aspiration, Mas Ermieyati spoke of the beauty of Sabah and hoped to see the state’s attractive scenery stays the same in 2050.

“I hope I can still enjoy the beautiful scenery and underwater with the same feeling I have today,” she said.

Being an avid diver herself, Mas Ermieyati noted that the diving industry in Malaysia, especially in Sabah, was growing and developing well.

She stressed conservation of the state marine biodiversity was vital to keep tourism booming by 2050.

Among the aspirations shared by participants in the TN50 dialogue were preservation of ethnic languages, setting up of a cultural agency to provide financial assistance, and continuous environmental conservation, among others.

Participants also expressed hope to see ethnic languages being promoted as tourism products and handicraft from the various ethnic groups were well documented for 2050 generation.

Source : New Straits Times