Push to Boost History Tourism in Sabah

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KENINGAU: Assistant Tourism, Culture, and Environment Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai has emphasised the need to intensify efforts to promote history tourism in Sabah, highlighting the historical significance of the state’s past.

He said that while Sabah is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, its historical treasures deserve equal attention and aggressive promotion.

“Sabah’s historical milestones, such as its liberation from Japanese occupation, serve as a testament to the resilience and bravery of the Sabahans who endured hardships during those challenging times.

“Countries like South Korea and Vietnam have effectively capitalised on their wartime histories to attract millions of tourists interested in understanding their past.

“I believe Sabah can similarly attract history enthusiasts, educators, and curious travellers interested in this unique chapter of its history,” remarked Joniston, who is also chairman of Sabah Tourism Board.

He was speaking to reporters when met at the launching of the History @ Sabah Museum programme at the Keningau Heritage Museum here on Friday, with Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan in attendance for the programme’s launch.

The Sabah Museum Department organised the programme in conjunction with the 60th Malaysia Day celebration. Also present were Assistant Works Minister Datuk Robert Tawik, Assistant Community Development and Well-Being Minister Datuk Flovia Ng, and Liawan Assemblyman Datuk Annuar Ayub.

Additionally, Joniston, citing the “Oath Stone” here as an example, highlighted the historical importance of North Borneo’s journey to independence from British rule and Sabah’s agreement to form Malaysia.

He mentioned the key events leading up to the formation of Malaysia in 1963, including the work of the Cobbold Commission and the pivotal referendum in which the people of Sabah chose to become part of Malaysia.

He asserted that promoting historical sites related to these events can provide valuable insight into the political and social factors that have shaped modern Sabah.

“These places could become important points of interest for tourists seeking a deeper understanding of the state’s evolution.

“Sabah’s rich and compelling history deserves celebration and global sharing, and through aggressive promotion of history tourism, the state can not only pay tribute to its past but also foster fresh prospects for economic growth and cultural exchange,” he said.

Drawing inspiration from countries like South Korea and Vietnam, which have successfully leveraged their historical narratives to boost tourism, Joniston expressed that Sabah can follow in their footsteps.

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