STB, KCCI To Upskill Rural Communities In Tourism Sector

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Tourism Board (STB) is looking at potential collaboration with the Kadazandusun Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) in providing skills training to the rural communities, particularly the Kadazandusun, in the tourism sector.

STB chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said the Kadazandusun community needed upskilling to increase their knowledge and efficiency to be able to communicate better when explaining their products and cultural values to tourists.

He said rural tourism has an enormous potential. In Kiulu, revenue for rural tourism is RM5.2 million, involving 40 operators, based on reports in 2019.

“We can work with KCCI in initiatives to empower the Kadazandusun community in the tourism field by organising training on cultural and environmental preservation for the targeted areas,” he told reporters here today.

Joniston, who is also the Sabah Tourism, Culture, and Environment Assistant Minister, said this after receiving a courtesy call from the KCCI delegation at his office today.

He said that among potential collaborations discussed was cooperation in carrying out pilot projects to train the local community to understand the value of the products, so that they would not be taken advantage of by tourists.

“STB, in 2019, collaborated with Universiti Malaysia Sabah in implementing a pilot project to teach Chinese and English to the Kadamaian and Kiulu communities.

“A similar project was supposed to be implemented with the Marais and Rundum communities in Tenom but it was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Meanwhile, KCCI president Datuk Bonipasius Bianis said there was a need to provide basic training to the Kadanzandusun community, as some villagers in Kampung Kiau, Ranau, are tourist guides for the bird watchers. However, they lack knowledge and communication skills.