Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman (third from left) officially opened the 'Sabah Rural Tourism Roadshow 2017' in Imago, Kota Kinabalu. (pix by IZHARI ARIFFIN)
KOTA KINABALU: Four rural areas - Kadamaian (Kota Belud), Kiulu, Ranau and Tambunan - are being touted as Sabah's next big tourism spots.
The four are the stars of the Sabah Rural Tourism Roadshow, happening today until Sunday at the Imago mall here.
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, at the launch of the roadshow today, said the areas, which promise fresh air and green surroundings, are just over an hour's drive away from the Kota Kinabalu city centre. He also noted that despite their close proximity, the districts remain largely rural.
"The four areas became our initial focus as they have potential to attract local and foreign tourists," he said.
He said the state government acknowledges that this initiative is a means to increase the livelihood of rural communities and provide an alternative income, but does not mean that the locals are giving up their traditional ways of life like farming.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said 50 new tourism products such as camp sites, whitewater rafting and trekking areas are being showcased during the event.
He commended the Kadamaian community for their high enthusiasm in developing their products, with about 40,000 people having visited the district in the first six months of this year.
"Meanwhile, this is also Visit Tambunan Year, so the district received about 49,000 visitors in the same period.
"If one tourist spends RM50 in Tambunan, we reckoned that nearly RM2.5 million ringgit in tourism receipts are generated there.
"I hope other districts can emulate this," added Masidi.