Saturday, 11 November 2017

Promoting Sabah to backpackers

(From left) Mari Mari Sepanggar Island Lodge owner Octavius Dares, Sabah Backpackers Association president Richie Lee, Sabah Tourism and Culture Ministry office director Ag Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar, Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia’s Pahang director Datuk Idrus Yahya, Kudat Blue Fin Dive and Surf founder Camuel Tsen and underwater photographer Abdul Razak Ismail at the ‘End in Sipadan’ programme in Sabah recently. PIC BY OLIVIA MIWIL

SEMPORNA: Members of Sabah Backpackers Association (SBA) are working together to offer diversified tourism products to attract travellers to stay longer in the state.

Its president Richie Lee said backpackers would get the opportunity to know Sabah more as they tend to stay longer.

“Backpackers rely heavily on word-of-mouth, social media and the Internet to choose and decide on their travelling destinations.

“After their visit to Sabah, we want them to go back to their countries and write good reviews that will attract more people to the state,” he said at an “End in Sipadan” programme, here, recently.

The programme is organised by the Tourism and Culture Ministry. SBA is a strategic partner that helps the ministry promote dive trails in Sabah.

Lee added that each operator should offer different products to allow divers to explore more.

“People usually fly to Semporna (in Tawau) and end up diving only in Sipadan, but Sabah is blessed with three seas (South China Sea, Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea) and there are definitely more diving trails to experience in the state.

“The ‘End in Sipadan’ is a voluntourism programme designed to encourage tour operators to offer packages for divers to build artificial reef conservation,” he said.

He added that divers engaged in the work could return to check the progress of the reef.

Besides that, the association had also been engaging education institutions to be a part of their programmes.

“College students are involved in internship programmes with our members. Through this, the younger generation gets hands-on experience and learning opportunity.

“After their graduation, the association hopes to help produce quality frontliners in the tourism industry.”
-nst online.

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