KOTA KINABALU: Sabah needs to consider developing architectural tourism to create new product offerings that will boost the vibrancy of the state and tourism in general.
Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Environment cum Sabah Tourism Board (STB) chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said Sabah’s cultural elements are diverse and should play a part in the design of architecture.
“We have rich elements with over 40 ethnic groups. We should highlight and feature these elements in our exterior and interior architecture to further complement Sabah as an eco-cultural tourism destination,” he said after visiting Terengganu early this week.
From Sept 18-21, Joniston led a group of STB board of directors and management staff to Kuala Terengganu for a four-day familiarisation trip to get product updates.
During the trip, the group visited the Terengganu State Museum, which its structures were designed to evoke the style of local traditional homes.
Joniston said Sabah should take inspiration from Terengganu, which has a strong presence in architectural tourism.
He also opined that it is past time for the Sabah Tourism Board to oversee the development of tourism in the state, rather than just promotion.
The Sabah Tourism Board’s visit to Terengganu is a reciprocal of the Terengganu Tourism Department’s February visit to Sabah, this year.
Joniston remarked that the Terengganu trip provided STB with the opportunity to see how other states are thriving in the tourism business and provide them with ideas on how to accomplish the same.
In addition, the board of directors also held a meeting in Kuala Terengganu to discuss on way forward to promote Sabah and increase the arrival of tourists, among others.
Meanwhile, Terengganu praised STB for its creative approach to fostering local community and tourism development in the state.
This was expressed by Terengganu Tourism Department director Fadli Yusof Zakaria to the Board delegation during a dinner hosted by them.
“It’s always great to get ideas from Sabah on how to market products in effective ways. We see that STB is very creative when it comes to promoting tourism, particularly in its efforts to involve and uplift the rural community through this industry.
“I hope that Terengganu and Sabah would work together to exchange ideas and to contribute to the overall promotion of tourism throughout the nation,” he said,
He also reiterated that Terengganu was inspired to implement its community-based tourism (CoBT) after seeing how successfully Sabah’s rural CoBT concept had developed during their visit to Sabah, during which they explored Kiulu.
Apart from the Terengganu State Museum, the STB team also visited Pulau Redang, Islamic Civilisation Park, Terengganu Cultural Village, Pasar Payang, Chinatown, and Noor Arfa Batik.
Present were State Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry Permanent Secretary Datuk Sr. Mohd Yusrie Abdullah and STB chief executive officer Noredah Othman, among others.