KiTA Getting Down to Grass Root for 2015

April 22, 2015 kita-admin Uncategorized

DSC_0256 DSC_0261 DSC_0275 DSC_0289 DSC_0328 DSC_0352Exco members of KiTA (Kinabatangan-Corridor of Life Tourism Operators Association) get down to the grass root and met with all Homestay as well as Bed & Breakfast operators of Kampung Abai, Kampung Sukau, Kampung Bilit and Batu Puteh in a two day windwhirl trip. The team ended their stop in Ibis Style Hotel Waterfront Sandakan, with a dialogue session with tour operators of Sandakan.

This is in response to a meeting during the month of May 2014 between KiTA Exco members and YB Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment of Sabah, whereby KiTA is to work in collaborating with Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) to have all tourism operators in the Lower Kinabatangan area to be a member of KiTA by 1st
January 2015.

Business trading licenses will only be issued by the district office after obtaining approval from Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) and showing proof of being a KiTA member. This will provide the mechanism for the tourism operators to self-regulate more effectively, thereby ensuring that tourism activities in the Lower Kinabatangan River remain sustainable and operate in an environmentally friendly manner.

Towards this end, Sabah Wildlife Department has since drawn up a set of wildlife watching standard operating procedures and formulated a series of training courses to prepare the staffs of the tourism operators. The first training course was conducted in September in Sepilok and several more have been scheduled in the coming months of December and January next year.

During these two days, while meeting with the tourism operators n the various kampong, Mr. Johnny Lim, Vice President of KiTA explained to them the requirements for being a member of the Association. “For the tour operator who operate lodges along the River, he will need a trading license from the council and MATTA certified tour operator permit. For a B&B or Homestay operator, he will need a trading license and the respective Association certified membership letter.” Mr Johnny Lim added “Through this process, KiTA will form a check and balance to ensure that only bone fide tourism operator with proper licensing can operate along the River.”

Haji Awang Azis, Ketua Kampung of Kampung Bilit welcomes the visit by the Exco members of KiTA to his Kampung. “ Kampung Bilit plays an important role in KiTA’s formation as the Association launched was done in Kampung Bilit in 2009!” he proudly declared. “Our Kampung has benefitted from the Association as we have received funding to plant closed to 1,300 trees thus far and the Association has set up a Tabung Ehsan in Kampung Bilit this year.

Moreover, KiTA will also be funding the construction of rubbish collection center within the kampong.

The site of this center has just been confirmed by the council.” He trusts that the B&B and the homestay operators will give full support to join this Association.

Mr. Alexander Yee, president of KiTA is pleased with the outcome of the two day trip. “We have been tirelessly working for this. In 2008, when the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment organized s Stakeholder Consultative Workshop entitled “Policy Direction and Actions for the Kinabatangan-Corridor of Life (K-CoL)” to map out policies that will ensure sustainable development is being carried out, the formation of an association to represent the tourism stakeholders was mooted. That’s how KiTA came about”.

“We had started amidst lots of skepticism and many did not expect us to survive, let alone achieve the objective of becoming a platform for ALL tourism operators operating along Kinabatangan River. By January 2015, we are confident of achieving this objective and we are glad we will also be able to do it within the time frame stated by our Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun.”

In other separate event, while at Kampung Abai, the Exco members of KiTA also checked on the progress of the construction of the security post at the Kampung.

This security post to ESSCOM is to be used as a monitoring post for all sea vessels entering into Kinabatangan River and funded by KiTA. It forms another community undertaking of the Association.

Since its formation in 2008, KiTA has grown significantly and now boasts 9 member lodges along the Lower Kinabatangan River. The Association’s mission is to promote & implement a globally recognized sustainable tourism model within the Kinabatangan-Corridor of Life that is beneficial for its People, the Planet and for Profit.

The Association is self-sustainable having a self-imposed conservation levy in placed; whereby members contribute RM10 for every guest that stay at their respective accommodation facilities. This self sustaining financing mechanism has allowed KiTA to carry out many notable projects that have benefitted the communities of Kampung Abai, Kampung Sukau, Kampung Bilit and Kampung Sg. Lokan. These activities included tree plantings, community medical projects and most recently, the sponsoring to construct of a security post at Kampung Abai for ESSCOM of Sandakan.

In recognizing KiTA for its efforts, the (MOTCE) awarded all KiTA members with the Best Tourism Attraction Nature Category during the 2013 Sabah Tourism Awards.

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