Riverfront tourism operators urged to adopt best practices, safety standards
7 June 2023
By Wartawan Nabalu News
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s riverfront tourism operators and the surrounding communities have been urged to adopt best practices and safety standards to attract more visitors to rural destinations.
The state’s Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said they should be role models for responsible tourism and urged stakeholders to invest in comprehensive training programmes.
Joniston, who is also the Sabah Tourism Board chairman, said water rafting is a flagship attraction for rural tourism and the well-being of visitors is a top concern.
He said private and community-based tourism operators must ensure visitor safety and establish a reputation for quality.
“The river is always our main draw. When participating in an activity such as river rafting, visitors’ top concern is always their own safety.
“Therefore, private and community-based tourism operators must ensure visitor well-being while establishing an enviable reputation to attract tourists to rural destinations,” he said.
He said this during the launch of the Pertubuhan Arus Deras Sabah (ARUSDESA) and Pulou Kelapa Heritage Tourism and Recreation Centre in Kampung Malangang Lama in Kiulu, about 60km from here recently.
ARUSDESA is a newly registered organisation that provides training and certification for water rafting sports and safety, among others.
Meanwhile, he also encouraged ARUSDESA to collaborate with the community in equipping villagers with the necessary expertise and knowledge to become river guides. This will empower local communities and enhance rural riverside tourism.
Joniston also added that there should be a collaboration between private tourism operators and village communities to establish a symbiotic relationship that benefits both parties. He said this collaboration fosters sustainable tourism growth and positive community development, creating a win-win situation for all involved.