TAMPARULI: Kiulu and Kadamaian, two rural towns which have been endorsed by the state government to have potential eco-tourism products, are teaming up together to strengthen themselves in the field.
Tourism Association (KTA) and Kadamaian Tourism Association (KATA) yesterday signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) at Pekan Nabalu to formalise their cooperation to bring eco rural tourism to the next level, yesterday.
Signing the MoA on behalf of KTA and KATA was their respective president Dr Edmon Guntis and Walter Kandayon in the presence of Sabah Tourism Board (STB) chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.
Joniston said the formalisation of the MoA was in response to the government's decision of making Kiulu and Kadamaian as rural eco-tourism development pilot projects as announced by Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman in the 2018 State budget.
"The purpose of the MoA is for Kiulu and Kadamaian Tourism Associations to become partners in order to capitalise on each other's strength and strive for excellence in this industry" he added.
The MoA is valid for two years and extendable for three years thereafter.
There are 41 and 31 members of Kadamaian and Kiulu Tourism Associations respectively. The total number of visitors to both areas in 2017 is around 10,0000 bringing more than RM4.5 million in revenue.
"This partnership will enable cooperation in many aspects of the industry particularly in the sharing of knowledge and its application in the field of tourism product development.
"It is a strategy on conservation of the environment, culture and tradition, marketing and training" said Dr Edmon. Walter said the close proximity of Kadamaian and Kiulu and the proven track record of both areas add an impetus to finalise this initiative.
Sharing best practices for the development of sustainable tourism is an important part of the agreement. The creation of joint tourism packages is expected to increase the flow of visitors to both areas.
Kadamaian and Kiulu have made good progress in rural tourism in recent times. It is well known that numerous tourism products such as white water rafting, hiking, trekking, cycling, camping, accommodation, traditional food and drinks are readily available in both areas.
The natural beauty and cleanliness of the countryside is a magnet to both domestic and international visitors. Adventure events such as running, cycling and rafting competitions continue to attract thrill seekers.
In response to the government trust, KATA and KTA have pledged to work in partnership to develop and ensure the success of eco rural tourism for their areas.
"It is hoped that their stories will inspire others to partake in this industry" said Joniston.