Tuesday, October 3

Sabah rural tourism operators urged to join cooperatives


Joniston welcomed by committee members of Pukak Cooperatives.

KIULU (Apr 25): Community-based rural tourism operators are encouraged to participate in the cooperative sector to diversify their revenue streams.

Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said tourism-focused rural communities should take advantage of cooperatives, which allow them to engage in a variety of commercial ventures.

“Community-based tourism operators should not confine themselves to the operation of a tourism business solely.

“They need to think of other businesses that can bring in money and improve their socioeconomics,” he said at the Pukak Cooperative Family Day here on Monday.

He stated that community-based rural tourism operators already have an organised committee structure and the same committee can be applied when establishing their cooperatives.

Joniston, who is the Kiulu assemblyman, also encouraged existing rural cooperatives to broaden their business focus to include tourism, which is one of the state’s primary sources of revenue and a key component of the Sabah Maju Jaya development plan.

He added that Kiulu has 10 cooperatives, most of which run grocery and hardware store businesses.

“Through cooperatives, it will be easy for members to apply for certain assistance, especially from the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives. I’ve discussed with Minister Datuk Ewon Benedick how we can assist the rural community through this effort.

“The state Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry and the Sabah Tourism Board will work together with the Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Ministry.

“We will also continue to provide guidance to cooperatives that are interested in operating a tourism business and to community tourism operators who are interested in becoming members of cooperatives,” he said.

Earlier in the event, Pukak Cooperative chairman Guin Omar presented a certificate of appointment to Joniston as the patron of the Pukak Cooperative.

Also present were Sabah Malaysian Cooperative Commission director Matias Kundapin and Kiulu sub-district assistant officer Justin Ginduk.