Monday, May 09, 2011

Promote traditional Sabahan food as well

KOTA KINABALU: Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun has suggested that the traditional food of Sabah be promoted alongside with other State cultural programmes.

He said since traditional food is still relatively unpopular to many people it can be promoted as a tourism product in events such as the Sabah Cultural Fest and Sabah International Folklore Festival to allow visitors to taste local cuisine.

Masidi also noted that there is no restaurant in Sabah specialising in local cuisine even though he believes it has huge potential.

“Four out of 10 visitors I meet ask me where to find local food and I think this is a business opportunity we should consider venturing,” he said at the closing ceremony of the inaugural Traditional Food Festival 2011 at the Sabah Cultural Centre here yesterday.

In fact, the arrival of visitors to Sabah has gone up in the first three months of this year compared to the same period last year.

“Even though Japan was hit by the recent tsunami, the Japanese still travel and their arrival to Sabah has gone up by 32 per cent in the first quarter while those from China and Korea respectively went up by 42 per cent and 41 per cent,” he stated.

“All these figures give us the confidence that we are on the right track and making the right move in promoting the tourism industry,” he said.

As such, he called on the people to become spokespersons or ambassadors of the state by acquiring at least some knowledge of the state so that when they are asked by tourists they know what to tell them rather than answering “I don’t know”.

He said this approach was adopted successfully by the people in Bali as they always know how to promote their tourism products and give recommendations to tourists on places to visit in the island.

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