"Before the development of tourism, travel was conceived to be like study, and its fruits were considered to be the adornment of the mind and the formation of the judgment." - Paul Fussell, historian.
From such a stout quote, it can be digested that tourism plays such a massive role in the development of one's cognizance in worldly events. In that instance, accessibility to such growth defines the rate of which knowledge travels. Accessibility, in that sense this time around, would be the new Pan Borneo Highway Sabah.
Sabah has always been one of the epicentres for tourism in Malaysia. Known for its beaches, culture, rainforest, coral reefs and abundant wildlife, much of it within parks and reserves, Sabah is always looking to improve its industries to help the community as well as further stimulate economic growth. As of late, the Land Below the Wind is experiencing major transformation in its road infrastructure with the development of their new toll-free highway, which will guarantee expansion across all sectors of the economy, especially tourism.
In an interview with Sabah's Chief Minister, Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Hj. Aman mentioned that the 706km Pan Borneo Highway Sabah project will assist in shortening the time and distance of travel, hence boost the tourism sector in the region.
Appointed as the first of its kind Project Delivery Partner (PDP) of Phase One of the highway mega project in April 2016, Borneo Highway PDP Sdn Bhd has shown much progress in its commitment to complete the project by 2021. With the finalisation of its value assessments and engineering process for all 35 packages in Phase One, five of which are under construction while the remaining to be progressively awarded between now till the first quarter of 2018, it will be in line with their motto "Memacu Masa Depan" or "Spurring the Future", and catchy hashtag #tatapjadi.
There exists immense potential in the tourism and travel sector, especially with regards to Sabah's cultural and heritage tourism, wildlife and adventure tourism, business and medical tourism etc. The State is endowed with natural beauty of spectacular mountain ranges, meandering rivers and miles and miles of dense forest.
The Northwest Region of the Pan Borneo Highway Sabah alignment will essentially cover six (6) 'work packages' and encompasses the erection of a new coastal highway from Tuaran up to Simpang Mengayau Kudat, where the popular tourist hotspot 'Tip of Borneo' is located.
With this new coastal highway, the surrounding littoral areas will see an increase in socio-economic activity and productivity, improved public transportation due to better roads, boosting industries, not to mention more accessibility to promote tourism - further stimulating Sabah's economy as a whole. In his recent Budget 2018 speech, Malaysian Prime Minister YAB Datuk Seri Dato' Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak emphasised on the above-mentioned so that Sabahans will find opportunities of economic advancement in careers, employment, business and livelihood. With an infrastructural upgrade such as the Pan Borneo Highway Sabah development, this would lead to improved access to the above, on top of encouraging local indigenous communities to contribute to Sabah's tourism as a whole.
The Sabah Chief Minister also reassured that the State government is committed to providing the necessary infrastructure to allow easier access to rural areas. And with government-initiated policies put in place for rural communities to learn more about tourism and the service industry, this should promote better innovation and competitiveness among Sabahans, therefore further stimulate Sabah's economic growth.
This may come by way of wayside amenities that will inevitably envelope the Pan Borneo Highway Sabah project. Wayside amenities offer the users of the highway a chance for rest and recreation as well as serve their needs for food, drink, fuel, vehicle repair, communication facilities etc. With this in mind, communities from surrounding areas shall benefit from increased awareness and productivity on local goods, as well as job opportunities.
In conclusion, it is safe to say that lives in Sabah will change for the better with the arrival of Pan Borneo Highway Sabah. Sabah has become Malaysia's golden goose for most successful eco adventure tourism destination. Borneo Highway PDP Sdn Bhd reassures the general populace that the development of the first mega project of its kind in Sabah will provide a better and safer road access, complemented by the increased volume of traffic that will facilitate more tourism activities. Also, not forgetting provisions for active socio-economic involvement of locals.
Quoting Ted Conover, well-renown author and journalist, "Roads remain the essential network of the non-virtual world. They are the infrastructure upon which almost all other infrastructure depends. They are the paths of human endeavour."