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  • Wartawan Nabalu News

Sandakan to tap into community-based tourism potential - Joniston

19 July 2023

By Wartawan Nabalu News

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Tourism Board (STB) Chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai has urged Sandakan to harness the strength of its local communities to create sustainable tourism opportunities in the district.

He said Sandakan had immense potential for community-based tourism development, especially in Pulau Tanjung Aru, which boasts pristine beaches and close proximity to historical sites.

He also highlighted the importance of empowering village folks and diversifying tourism offerings beyond nature and wildlife tourism.

Joniston, who is also State Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, was speaking at a meeting with Sandakan Member of Parliament Vivian Wong and Sandakan Tourism Association President Teo Chee Kim at the STB office here yesterday.

STB Deputy CEO Julinus Jimit also attended the meeting which provided an opportunity for Vivian to seek advice from Joniston on attracting more tourists to Sandakan.

She also briefed the Assistant Minister on initiatives she has undertaken to help empower the islanders of Pulau Tanjung Aru and transform the island into a new attraction.

“Community-based tourism has proven to be a successful model in Sabah and various parts of the world for promoting rural areas, empowering local communities and preserving cultural heritage while offering unique experiences to tourists,” Joniston said.

He added that STB plays a crucial role in connecting the dots and facilitating partnerships between successful community-based tourism operators and the village folks of Sandakan.

“By fostering collaboration and knowledge-sharing, we can create a supportive environment for developing community-based tourism ventures in Sandakan,” he said.

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