Sabah needs to develop architectural tourism


Joniston listens to a briefing from Terengganu State Museum Assistant Director Fauzi Muda (second from left) on the history of the museum and its architectural design. Also pictured are Datuk Sr. Mohd Yusrie Abdullah, Under Secretary of the State Department of Tourism, Culture and Environment (left) and STB Executive Director Noredah Othman (second right).

KOTA KINABALU (September 22): Sabah must consider the development of architectural tourism to create new product offerings that will increase the dynamism of the state and tourism in general.

Deputy Minister for Tourism, Culture and Environment and Chairman of the Sabah Tourism Board (STB), Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, said Sabah’s cultural elements are diverse and should play a role in shaping the architecture.

“We have rich elements with over 40 ethnic groups. We should emphasize and highlight these elements in our exterior and interior design to further complement Sabah as an eco-cultural tourism destination,” he said after visiting Terengganu earlier this week.

On September 18-21, Joniston led a group of STB board members and management staff on a four-day familiarization trip to Kuala Terengganu for product updates.

During the trip, the group visited the Terengganu State Museum, whose structures were designed to resemble the style of local traditional houses.

Joniston said Sabah should take inspiration from Terengganu, which has a strong presence in architectural tourism.

He also said it is time for the Sabah Tourism Board to oversee the development of tourism in the state, rather than just promoting it.

The Sabah Tourist Board visit to Terengganu is in return for this year’s Terengganu Tourist Board visit to Sabah in February.

Joniston noted that the Terengganu trip gave STB an opportunity to see how other states are thriving in the tourism business and give them ideas on how to do the same.

In addition, the Board held a meeting in Kuala Terengganu to discuss, among other things, how to proceed to promote Sabah and increase tourist numbers.

Meanwhile, Terengganu praised STB for its creative approach to promoting local community and tourism development in the state.

This was stated by Fadli Yusof Zakaria, Director of Terengganu Tourism Department, to the board delegation during a dinner they hosted.

“It’s always great to get ideas from Sabah on how to market products effectively. We see STB being very creative when it comes to promoting tourism, particularly in its efforts to engage and uplift the rural community through this industry.

“I hope Terengganu and Sabah will work together to share ideas and contribute to the overall promotion of tourism across the country,” he said.

He also reiterated that Terengganu was inspired to implement his community-based tourism (CoBT) after seeing how successful Sabah’s rural CoBT concept had evolved during their visit to Sabah while exploring Kiulu.

Besides Terengganu State Museum, STB team also visited Pulau Redang, Islamic Civilization Park, Terengganu Cultural Village, Pasar Payang, Chinatown and Noor Arfa Batik.

Among those present were Undersecretary of State for Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Sr. Mohd Yusrie Abdullah, and STB Executive Director Noredah Othman.


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