KOTA KINABALU, 7 December 2022: Sabah Tourism Board is committed to working closely with University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) and other higher learning institutions to support the continued growth of the state’s rural tourism industry.

Assistant Tourism, Culture, and Environment Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said STB and tourism players could benefit significantly from the university’s studies of rural tourism. He also said STB could assist academicians in their studies to grasp the topic at hand better and identify collaborative solutions to the industry’s problems.

Joniston, who is also chairman of STB, was speaking at the Community Based Tourism Symposium (CBTS) 2022, themed ‘Rural Tourism Prosperity: Transforming the Well-Being of Local Communities’ at the Azman Hashim UMS Gallery here, last Friday.

This symposium was co-organised by the varsity’s Borneo Tourism Research Centre (BTRC); Faculty of Business, Economics and Accountancy; and Sabah Tourism Board. It was supported by the Federation of Rural Tourism Association Sabah and the Association for Tourism and Leisure Education and Research (ATLAS Asia).

Joniston shared details about STB’s pioneering efforts in community-based tourism through its project division and the subsequent success of this initiative since its inception in 2014.

He also called on stakeholders to continue playing their role in helping position Sabah as the top sustainable and innovative rural tourism destination.

“Tourists today are more environmentally conscious and are looking for sustainable travel options. They would like to be part of the sustainability of the tourist sites.

“A vibrant public and private ecosystem that facilitates partnerships with stakeholders to grow their capabilities should be implemented.

“We want Sabah to be the best place to test bed for sustainable solutions, new tourism products and experiences, enabling businesses in rural tourism to gain from first-mover competitive advantage,” he said.

Meanwhile, UMS Vice-Chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Kasim Md. Mansor was pleased with the UMS-STB partnership to organise the CBTS event while describing it as a good example of University-Industry partnerships that would be developed further.

The CBTS 2022 drew 288 participants and was conducted via a hybrid mode with both on-site and online participants. On-site attendees comprised tourism sector representatives, government agencies, students, and staff, whilst international delegates registered from Indonesia, China, Ireland, Portugal, Singapore, the Philippines, and Spain.

For more information on Sabah visit: www.sabahtourism.com.

(Your Stories: Sabah Tourism Board)