Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sabah seas for tourism in conservation


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is expected to attract 3.4 million visitors and generate RM6 billion in tourism revenue this year.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun told press members after launching the book: “The Sensational Seas of Sabah” by Scubazoo yesterday that they expected to exceed last year’s revenue of RM5.7 billion from the industry this year.

“At the same time, the ministry also expects to exceed last year’s tourists arrivals of 3.2 million,” he said.

He then went on to say the revenue generated from the tourism sector had now exceeded the logging industry, which was once the state’s major revenue generator.

“The income from the logging sector was once RM2 billion but last year, it generated only RM1 million – it was due to the decision of the present Chief Minister who decided to cancel the logging concessions in Sabah several years ago. It was a bold step to ensure that the forest was conserved and less trees were cut,” he said.

He described the decision by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman as a wise one and that Sabah was now reaping the fruits from that wise decision since the income generated from the tourism sector now exceeded that of the logging sector.

“In the logging sector, we realised that once the last tree was logged, that was the end,” he said.

He then called on the industry and the people of Sabah to support efforts to look after the state’s natural heritage and not let the quest for more profit to deter them from doing what is right.

“We need the strength to look after our islands, our nature and disallow acts that lead to degradation – that is why we limit the number of visitors on Sipadan to 120 people daily and to the Kinabalu Peak to 192 people daily. If our quest was for more profit, we will soon lose Sipadan and Kinabalu. I hope the industry will support this,” he said

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