By ILONA ANDREW
RANAU: Ranau is a key destination for both domestic and international tourists in the Sabah’s tourism industry, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew.
She said the district has all the essential ingredients for its stature as a major tourist destination.
“As we all know, the Kinabalu Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring the iconic Mount Kinabalu, waterfalls and vast biodiversity. The world-renowned peak is God’s precious gift to us. I have climbed the mountain at least twice in my younger days.
“And we have the Poring Hot Spring, the Kundasang War Memorial, Sabahtea plantation, Sabah orchid nursery, strawberry farms, organic vegetable farms, highland resorts and homestay facilities.
“While we nurture our natural heritage, I believe there is still ample room to diversify the industry by creating new tourism products in Ranau,” she said at a gathering with the Ranau Chinese Chamber of Commerce (led by Datuk Jimmy Tham Yuk Leong as Chairman) at the premises of the Ranau District Hakka Association building on Saturday.
Liew, who is also Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, was responding to Tham who urged her to popularise Ranau to the outside world. He said the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the district’s tourism prospects.
“Endowed with natural resources, Ranau is ideal for adventure and agro tourism. The best durian in Sabah comes from here,” he remarked.
The Minister said her Ministry welcomes proposals for new tourism products from Tham, Paginatan Assemblyman Datuk Abidin Madingkir, the local business community and people of Ranau.
Speaking to reporters later, Liew said if everything goes well as planned, work on giving the Poring Hot Spring a much-needed facelift would start before the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the Minister announced an allocation of RM20,000 for the Ranau District Hakka Association, which is also chaired by Tham.
She said the association could utilise part of the sum for repairing the association’s building which is shared by the Ranau Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
Also present were Abidin who is also Legal Adviser to the Ranau District Hakka Association, Kundasang Community Development Leader Siriman Basir, Association Adviser Datuk Hiew Sin Kiong, Kapitan-Kapitan Cina Abdul Halik Chong and Yap Fook Loi, and Liew’s political secretaries Mustapha Sakmud and Vivien Lee.