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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Project to develop Sabah into choice destination in Asia

SABAH Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan says Sabah would be developed into an internationally recognised destination of choice in Asia for business and leisure by 2025 under the 18-year Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) Project.

"Tourism, logistics, agriculture and manufacturing sectors will be the main focus of SDC, and shall be guided by the NKEA in line with its key factor endowments," said Pairin when addressing more than 100 delegates from Malaysia and China at the 7th Malaysia-China Joint Business Council Meeting in Jinan, China, yesterday.

He was here with ministers, assistant ministers and officials from the state government and corporate leaders from Sabah to attract Chinese investment in the SDC project.

When elaborating on tourism development under the project, Pairin said, the Sabah government would turn the state as a target of high-yield and long-stay visitors, with premier eco-adventure destinations, as well as a high-end second home destination with luxury holiday villas and lifestyle activities.

"Offshore islands and Kinabalu Gold Coast Enclave will be developed into high end signature resorts, together with new eco-tourism products such as wildlife safari, rainforest interpretation, island hopping and submarine diving," he said.

Lifestyle products like Mt Kinabalu lookout, MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions) facilities, marinas, holiday homes, spas, wellness, healthcare centres, boutique resorts, performing arts, handicraft centres and art galleries will also be built.

He said, development would capitalise on Sabah's largest genera of marine life (cradle of coral life), oldest rainforest and colourful and diverse native population, Agro-tourism in the interior districts and wellness tourism in the highlands.

"Handicrafts and home stay will also be actively promoted to encourage local participation in tourism. To achieve this ends, a handicraft village will be established and new handicraft products such as leather craft will be introduced," he said.

As Kota Kinabalu acts as the main gateway for tourists arriving in Sabah, the waterfront area would be rehabilitated and re-developed into an iconic attraction, added Pairin.

Earlier at a meeting with officials of the Jinan Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone, Pairin invited Chinese officials to visit Sabah and look for investment opportunities in the state.

He said, investors can focus on four key sectors, namely agriculture, tourism, logistics and manufacturing.

By Bernama

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