Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Guides to need two permits in Sabah wildlife areas

SANDAKAN: All tourist guides operating in Sabah’s wildlife areas will have to obtain the tourism operator permit and wildlife tourist guide permit from next January.

Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) director, Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said for a start, the requirement of the two permits would be enforced in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.

He said this move was taken following complaints from tourism operators about unlicensed and unqualified tourist guides operating in the area.

According to him, for the Kinabatangan wildlife area, the permits would only be issued to those operators registered with the Kinabatangam Wildlife Corridor Tourism Operators Association (KiTA) and Sabah Tourist Guides Association (STGA), besides having attended courses organised by the SWD.

“This is aimed at reducing negative eco-tourism activities, besides ensuring the safety of tourists by adhering to the existing policy of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.

“Currently, tourist guides in Kinabatangan are only required to have a permit from STGA,” added Ambu at the Eco-Tourism Operational Procedure Seminar at the sanctuary, here, yesterday.