CoBT highlighted at ITB Berlin

Sabah’s proactive efforts to promote community-driven tourism in rural areas have received accolades from the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association (ECTAA).

ECTAA Secretary-General, Erik Dresin, praised the initiative during a “Sustainability Exchange” session organised by the Malaysian Travel and Tours Association (MATTA) at the ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel trade show.

Dresin highlighted the commendable emphasis on sustainability in the implementation of Sabah’s tourism initiatives, emphasising the importance of environmental protection, particularly in rural areas, to ensure the long-term viability of tourism.

The session featured presentations by Sabah Tourism Board (STB) chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai and Chief Executive Officer Julinus Jimit, who discussed the development of community-based tourism (CoBT) in Sabah’s rural areas.

Joniston emphasised that Sabah’s CoBT initiative not only fosters rural economic development but also raises awareness among local communities about the importance of environmental conservation.

Joniston, who also serves as Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Environment, called on ECTAA to support Sabah’s CoBT by promoting it among its members.

Julinus highlighted Sabah’s aggressive development of CoBT in response to the increasing popularity of nature-based tourism.

He invited international visitors to experience Sabah’s natural beauty and diverse culture in a rural setting.

MATTA President Nigel Wong, who moderated the session, emphasized the importance of sustainable tourism in enhancing destinations for both residents and visitors.

The session also saw the presence of ECTAA President Frank Oostdam.

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