TAMPARULI: Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun wants industry players in Sabah to be creative and introduce new products to lure more tourists to the state.
Stating that it would help put Sabah in the world map, he said that tourists would think it as value for money as there are a lot of programmes that they can do in the state.
Giving an example, he said the newly launched Zip Borneo, an adventure-tourism product in Kiulu here, could not only let tourists try out 320 metres of ziplines or flying foxes, which is considered to be the longest in the state, but one could also enjoy nature at its best as Kiulu is known to have the most beautiful river in the country.
“This is a creative product for those who want something different. This is the kind of creativity we want from tourism players; come up with something that may not have been offered before.
“I am always proud to tell people that if you ever want to find the most beautiful state or city in Malaysia, I think Sabah is really, undisputedly, be the number one. With that in mind, there are so much potential and variety of products we can create in the state; our rich flora and fauna, the people, the sea … it is a huge potential to exploit,” he said.
On another development, Masidi said the locals should also take the initiative to show their capabilities and abilities, and play their part in developing the tourism industry.
“For the tourism industry to sustain, I think there should be active participation from the locals, whether to be workers or suppliers of certain materials needed.
“But it is not just the investors or developers that should be looking for locals or incorporating them into the system, but the people themselves should take the initiative to come forward and show what they have to offer,” he said after the official launch of Zip Borneo.
Masidi added that the locals should stop expecting opportunities to come at their doorsteps, but instead work equally hard to play their part in the industry.
Meanwhile, Ability Expeditions Sdn Bhd (AE) managing director David G S Powell said Zip Borneo comprises the flying foxes, an 18-metre challenge tower that incorporates a huge abseil, climbing wall and a high ropes challenge course.
“It will provide a safe and memorable adventure experience to a wide range of Sabahans and tourists alike. We, along with our long standing partners here at the Adventure Centre – Riverbug, believe that Kiulu and surrounding areas should develop into a regionally famous adventure tourism location,” he said.
Stating that their target market are student groups, Powell added that educational expedition is a rapidly growing tourism sector in the state and over the last 10 years, AE has been instrumental in developing the market in Sabah.
Over the years, they had successfully sealed ties with Raleigh International by holding the induction training there, and last year alone, some 1,000 international students had the opportunity to have first-hand experience in beautiful Sabah.
Describing Zip Borneo activities as “fun and exciting”, he added that it was also about self development and life changing for some.
“There is more in you than you know, and overcoming fears by trying something we never thought we could do is a very powerful learning experience that rolls directly over to our personal and professional lives,” he said.
He strongly believes that adventure tourism industry will continue to grow.