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KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government is steadfast in its efforts to restore and develop the tourism sector, as reflected by the RM134.59 million allocation in the 2023 Budget to the state’s Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor (pix) said the allocation will include for upgrading tourism facilities and human capital development for Community Based Tourism (CoBT), besides the setting up of the Sabah Convention Bureau (SCB) which will be operational by next year.

“The SCB will accelerate the growth of the tourism industry through tourism-based Business Events to make Sabah a preferred destination for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibition/events that will generate economic activities for the benefit of the hospitality, logistics, aviation and other related sectors,“ he said in his speech at the opening of the World Tourism Conference (WTC) 2022 at the Sabah International Convention Centre here today.

The text of the speech was read out by Sabah Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, who is also Sabah Finance Minister II.

Hajiji said the conference theme ‘Tourism Futures Reimagined’ was timely and apt.

“Since the opening of our borders on April 1, 2022, Malaysia, and Sabah for that matter, have been relentless in our pursuit of speeding up our growth and development, particularly in progressing tourism.

“I am happy to know that in-person participation at this conference will put many heads together to address tourism futures and strategies, driving tourism’s recovery and resilience post-pandemic,“ he said.

Hajiji also said that although Sabah’s tourism was the worst affected sector this past two years, the state government did not let up in its efforts to manage the challenges.

“The state government dispenses a good budget to cushion the impact and to ensure the healthy development of our tourism industry seeing that tourism generated the biggest revenue for Sabah pre-pandemic,“ he added.

WTC 2022, from today until Nov 30, is jointly organised by Malaysia Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry in partnership with the World Tourism Organisation and the Sabah government.

In its sixth edition this year, the conference brings together 1,000 delegates from more than 60 countries to reconnect and reassess tourism recovery in the aftermath of the worldwide pandemic.

The conference also features some 30 speakers comprising government policy makers, industry leaders and leading academicians.-Bernama

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