Clear direction needed to ensure tourism industry remains vibrant: Masidi
A clear direction that hinges on the best that Sabah has to offer is necessary to ensure that the State’s tourism industry remains vibrant and continues to grow, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.
He said the abundant natural beauty found here is a major reason that attracts foreign visitors, hence the need to keep true to the vision of turning Sabah into one of the world’s premier tourism destinations. “Our target it to achieve 10 percent of the global tourism receipts by the time we reach 2020. At that time the global tourism receipts are estimated to value at US$20 trillion and 10 percent would mean around US$20 billion or RM7O billion,” he said in his welcoming address at the Sabah Tourism Awards 2007 at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort (STAR) here last night.
Masidi admitted that while it is a lofty target, it is something that is achievable through close cooperation and coordination between all tourism players in the State.
“We have to accept the fact that we need to help each other. The tourism cake is big enough for everyone to share.
“On the same token the people at the Ministry may not be the best people to come up with ideas for tourism, which is why we are thinking of creating a tourism consultative panel.
“This panel will have representatives from all sectors of the industry and with their participation we hope to be in a better position to formulate ideas to improve our tourism industry.
“We also need to have a tourism action plan. We cannot continue just telling ourselves that everything is okay. We need to have a tourism audit so we can find where we are going or is the Government still relevant… we need to ensure that whatever we do the plan is owned by each and every player in the industry,” he said.
Masidi stressed that there are various aspects that should become the focal point for all related to the tourism industry, particularly in the preservation of Sabah’s natural resources.
“The way forward is to constantly think tourism and act eco-tourism. We have to look at what we already have, our State’s natural beauty, the scenic mountain, our seas, our forests. We must keep them that way because that is the reason they come to Sabah.
“We need to look at our capabilities and Sabah is best known in the region for its, eco-tourism, so we must exploit our advantages,” he said.
Meanwhile, Masidi presented a total of 21 awards last night at the gala dinner, which was also attended by his assistant minister Datuk Karim Bujang, Mayor Datuk Iliyas Ibrahim, senior tourism officials and tourism players from the private sector.
Sabah Tourism Awards 2007 recipients list
1) Cleanest Town - City Hall & Municipalities category: Kota Kinabalu City Hall
Districts category: Kudat
2) Best Shopping Complex: Centre Point Sabah
3) Best Entertainment Spot: Cock & Bull Bistro, Waterfront Kota Kinabalu
4) Best Food Outlets - Best Restaurant category: Ferdinand’s Magellan Sutera
Best Kopi Tiam: Kak Nong Restaurant
Best Tourism Article on Sabah – Published in Malaysia category: Azlie Halim (Syurga Pencinta Alam, Libur magazine)
Published Overseas category: Roberto Rinaldi, Italy (Coral Garden – Langkayan, Nautica magazine)
Best Tour Guide – General Tour Guide category: Sai Ying Nyean
Specialized Tour Guide category: Ahmadul Tahir
Best Inbound Operators – Malaysian Tour Operator category: Inno Travel & Tour Services Sdn Bhd
Overseas Tour Operator category –
Hong Kong Wing On Travel Services Ltd (Hong Kong)
- HIS Co Ltd (Japan)
- Hana Tour (Korea)
Best Tour Package: Borneo Eco Tours Sdn Bhd
Best Tourism Attractions – Nature category: Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary
Non-Nature category: Sabah Museum
Excellence in Hotel Services – 3, 4, and 5-star category: Nexus Resort Karambunai
Nature Lodge category: Borneo Rainforest Lodge