Sabah tourism authorities are lining up stargazing as one of the main tourism products as the state gears up for the reopening of the tourism industry.
Sabah Tourism Board (STB) deputy general manager Julinus Jimit told astrotourism could help revive domestic tourism although he acknowledged that peering into space is not everybody’s cup of tea.
“Stargazing is like candy. It’s one of the pull factors for visitors to rural areas, where most stargazing spots are located.
“It’s a niche activity, but other people can tag along and do other stuff like mountain biking, trekking and hiking, which are what we call lung-washing activities,” he said.
Julinus said people could choose to go for other outdoor and recreational activities while waiting to watch the sky at night.
“These products more or less compliment each other. The bigger picture is the revival of domestic tourism, in which rural tourism will play a big part.”
He said the STB products division was identifying stargazing venues in the state, such as in the northern Kudat district, the interior Beaufort area and in the Lahad Datu district.
This is in addition to the already well-known sites in Kadamaian, Kota Belud, Kuala Penyu and Penampang, among others.
He said STB would provide, on its website and social media, all the necessary information on stargazing, such as the best spots and suitable times to watch the sky.
The Sabah government relaxed the rules for the tourism sector last week. All tourism sites in the state are now allowed to open to visitors from within the districts they are located in.
Sabah Covid-19 spokesman Masidi Manjun announced the relaxation under the updated SOPs for Sabah, which is presently under Phase 2 of the national recovery plan.
This is in addition to the travel bubbles already allowed in the state.
Masidi, who is the state’s local government and housing minister, said employers of tourism establishments, their workers as well as visitors must first be fully vaccinated and show a low-risk status on their MySejahtera.
Hotels can now welcome guests from within their districts. The condition is that the hotel staff and guests must be fully vaccinated.
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