Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Sabah will continue to give top priority to tourism sector

By Arman Gunsika

KOTA KINABALU - Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman said the tourism sector will continue to receive priority in generating the State's economic growth in line with the Sabah's development direction and the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

Launching the Sandakan Festival 2006 at the Sandakan Padang Bandaran on Sunday, Musa said from year to year, the significance of the tourism sector is becoming more glaring and will always be given emphasis in whatever policies and planning of the government.

He said this is clearly reflected when tourism had been identified as one of the main development strategies in the state's economic development plan and the Ninth Malaysia Plan. The call by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to attract 2.7 million tourist arrivals annually in five years was given attention by the State government.

Tourist arrivals to Sabah as of March this year was already 420,293, while last year the total arrivals were 1,829 million indicating that Sabah is becoming a main destination for Malaysia.

This is a result of the efforts, initiatives and cooperation between the government, private sector, NGOs and the people of Sabah, he said.

Hoping that such a strong cooperation will continue to be forged, Musa said that the smart partnership concept that involved the active participation from the community was capable in making a programme successful without depending on the government.

The State government had marked up the arrivals' target to Sabah from 2.7 million in 2007 to four million by the end of the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

In this respect, among the positive steps taken by the government was to encourage the private sectors to get involved in hotel industry, enhancement of the existing tourism facilities and improvement of the sector's quality and professionalism.

Apart from that, he said involvement of the community homestay, bed and breakfast sundry businesses, transportation, food and handicraft industries also were taken into account.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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