Sabah Tourism steers towards community-based and architecture tourism

Adopting an original approach, Sabah wants to focus on community-based tourism explains Noredah Othman, General Manager, Sabah Tourism Board.

Sabah’s Community Based Tourism (CBT) has been growing and is increasingly popular. “This is timely, as Sabah receives a large number of return visitors. So it is necessary for the state to provide new options to explore Sabah beyond the commercial and well-developed tourism sites”, says Noredah Othman, General Manager at Sabah Tourism Board.

“CBT has, in essence, brought-in something new for visitors in addition to providing economic growth in the state’s interior areas”, she adds.

People have become increasingly aware of the environment and sustainability implications of travel. “Environmental awareness and sustainability have been pivotal subjects even prior to Covid. Each December we close the world-renowned diving site, Sipadan, in order to allow time for regeneration. The number of climbers allowed on Mount Kinabalu has also been reduced. And along the Kinabatangan river, where the forest has been fragmented, the Sabah State Government has begun the process of reclaiming the land and creating an improved corridor for the migration of wildlife”, she says.

CBT initiatives and homestays could therefore help reassure local residents who show a strong desire to preserve their roots while also giving them a new sense of pride.

Sabah Tourism Board is also considering the development of architectural tourism to create new product offerings that will boost the vibrancy of the state and tourism in general. Sabah’s cultural elements are diverse and should play a part in the design of architecture, estimates Sabah Tourism. With 40 ethnic groups, architecture should be leveraged to reflect the cultural strength of the destination.