STRATEGIC CHOICE: Location and abundant resources a boon for expansion of tourism sector, says minister
KOTA KINABALU: SABAH'S strategic location and rich biodiversity make it the perfect hub to expand the tourism sector in the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines-East Asean Economic Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said Sabah was a suitable centre to boost outward economic growth of these regions through tourism due to its abundant natural resources.
"BIMP-EAGA can help to enhance and market this advantage.
"I urge relevant parties to work together towards economic prosperity for the present and future generations," he told reporters after officiating at the BIMP-EAGA Conference (BEC) 2012 organised by University Malaysia Sabah (UMS), near here yesterday.
Also present were UMS Vice-Chancellor Dr Mohd Harun Abdullah, BEC 2012 chairperson and UMS school of business and economics dean Dr Arsiah Bahron, Palawan State University, Philippines, president Dr Jeter Sespene and Mindanao State University, Philippines, Chancellor Dr Sukarno D. Tanggol.
With political boundaries becoming more obscure, Masidi stressed that it was important for all players to work together to ensure continuous economic growth within the BIMP-EAGA region.
"We should not only rely on conferences but also a timeline for implementation," he said, adding that the cultural similarities of the member countries were a uniting factor and created huge potential for the the tourism industry.
Arsiah said ideas and research conducted in various fields, ranging from tourism to economics to international relations, would be shared among the participants in the three-day conference.
"It is our hope that through this exchange, we will be able to garner greater opportunities to enhance BIMP-EAGA development, particularly in the priority areas of tourism, transportation, small-medium enterprises and natural resource development."
Harun said the Asean sub-region, with a population of more than 60 million, presented a viable market, but issues such as climate change, safety and security, poverty eradication, terrestrial and marine issues and infrastructure development, should be addressed to achieve its full potential.
Academic and non-academic delegates from various countries, including from Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines, South Korea and Australia, will attend the conference.