KOTA KINABALU: Tourism potential in Sabah requires the support of the Federal Government to improve infrastructure facilities to provide comfort to tourists which until July this year, a total of 1.4 tourists have visited Sabah and the number will meet the target of 2.2 million domestic and international tourist arrivals by the end of this year.
Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) Tanjung Aru Division Chief Hiew Choon Yu, said that although Sabah has natural advantages as a preferred destination for Southeast Asian tourists, the tourism infrastructure facilities in Sabah have not yet reached the expected level.
“For the past few years, the federal Ministry of Tourism has not improved or expanded existing infrastructure facilities for tourist attractions in Sabah. Kinabalu Park, for example, what changes have been made in the past few decades? What improvements have been implemented?,” he asked, adding that such a valuable tourist attraction was being buried and neglected.
Hiew added that with the opening of national borders post-pandemic, the number of domestic and international visitors coming to Sabah has been on the rise.
“However, Sabah’s potential to become a tourist destination of choice requires federal support to take advantage of Sabah’s natural advantages, which consist of the highest peaks in the region and coral reefs in beautiful oceans that are known in the world,” he said.
According to Hiew, another example is the Poring Hot Spring which is so crowded with visitors every weekend that it needs the attention of the federal government to expand it. Even in the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, there are only a few canopy walkaway to explore the natural forest.
Hiew said that Penang, as a small state that does not have many natural attractions like Sabah, is able to develop its tourism potential and become the fourth most visited state in Malaysia.
On the other hand, Sabah which has many natural attractions has not received the full attention of the government to explore new attractions in order to maximize the development of the tourism economy.
Hiew stressed that to achieve success in the tourism industry, it is important to have good infrastructure, including roads, transport, water and electricity.
Recently, our Chief Minister announced that Sabah will soon have a second Pan Borneo Highway, which is undoubtedly a significant boost for the tourism sector!