Walai Penyu’s Asean award testament of Sabah’s rural tourism products, says state minister


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is positioning itself as a high-quality rural tourism vacation spot with the Walai Penyu Conservation Park profitable the Asean Sustainable Tourism Standard Award (Asta) 2022.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin stated this was the second award to be received by Sabah’s rural tourism operators after Kadamaian Tourism Association’s ASEAN Community Based Tourism Award in 2019.

Jafry stated such status accreditation had positioned Sabah as a high-quality rural vacation spot in southeast Asia.

“The state is dedicated to attaining its purpose of making Sabah a world-class rural tourism vacation spot by 2025,” he stated.

“I commend the Walai Penyu Conservation Park for demonstrating how tourism might be managed sustainably and successfully in an effort to defend sea turtles,” he added on Wednesday (March 9).

The Asta is a prestigious recognition supporting the implementation of Asean’s Tourism Strategic Plan 2016-2025.

Walai Penyu Conservation Park managing director Alexander Yee obtained the award on the Tourism, Art, and Culture Ministry (Motac) in Kuala Lumpur on Monday (March 7).

Yee stated that the award was an honour because it was a mirrored image of the real involvement of the native fishing neighborhood in turtle conservation that benefited the folks via the homestay that drew international and native vacationers.

He stated native villagers had been employed whereas the neighborhood earned further revenue from gross sales of handicrafts and even coconuts vacationers coming to see turtle touchdown between July and November.

Yee, who can be half of the Friends of Sea Turtles Education and Research (Foster), was accompanied by Kampung Libaran village chief Sarief Nasidif and Honorary Wildlife warden Sardi Baral on the national-level presentation ceremony.

Walai Penyu is situated on Libaran Island, a 45min pace boat trip from Sandakan and has been a turtle sanctuary since 2010.

Its institution has elevated consciousness among the many Libaran fishing neighborhood and inspired them to interact in turtle conservation initiatives.

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