Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bad roads in Sabah's rural areas are tourist attractions

By SANTE VILLIAMON

SANDAKAN: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat said he does not view seriously, lack of infrastructure in the rural areas, nor the bad roads connecting these places to the towns as they are tourist attractions.

He said foreign tourists prefer gravel roads to those that are tarred and prefer to spend lot of money to stay in the interior places such as Sukau and the Maliau Basin.

"Tourists from Europe and Japan like to visit places where they can test their physical and mental prowess so as to get great satisfaction from their expedition," he said.

He said there was a growing number of foreign tourists who preferred "going back to nature" and yearned for a holiday just soaking in the diverse flora and fauna in the jungle.

"People in the rural areas should take advantage of the growing eco tourism industry instead," said Chong who is also Tourism, Culture and Environment minister.

He was asked to comment on the pleas of the people living in rural areas who face all kinds of problems because of bad roads, especially during bad weather.

"If all our roads are sealed and the journey is smooth, these tourists might as well stay home as these are the road conditions in their own country," he said.

Chong said the people should look into how they can benefit from eco tourism instead of asking from better infrastructure.

Courtesy of: New Sabah Times

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