KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will be putting in more efforts and money to rid the garbage from the streets, rivers and surrounding sea, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.
The amount of allocation and programme for the garbage eradication would be announced later, he said at the engagement session between Tourism and Culture Minister Dato Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz and tourism operators in Sabah at the Sutera Harbour Resort near here yesterday.
Masidi lamented that talks on cleanliness were carried out constantly but the people have failed to practise what they preached.
At the same time, he urged tourism players in Sabah to improve the services they rendered or risk losing to similar popular destinations in neighbouring Philippines and Indonesia.
He reminded that there are other destinations within the region that are equally mesmerising and the Sabah tourism industry would be in trouble if they did not improve the quality of their services.
“The diving sites in the Philippines are as good as the ones we have here,” he said.
Masidi also commented on the downward trend of the state tourism sector and said the last few years had not been good for the industry.
The state tourism sector has suffered several blows, ranging from the Sulu militant intrusion in Lahad Datu in 2013, the kidnapping at Mabul (Semporna) and last year’s earthquake in Ranau.
Tourism arrivals into Sabah have also dropped from 3.23 million in 2014 to 2.9 million last year.
On a positive note, Masidi said that Sabah had the highest number of repeat visitors in the country.
He said among the attributes that attracted tourists to keep coming back were Sabahans’ unpretentious behaviour.
At the same time, the people were also not judgemental, he said.