KOTA KINABALU, 13 DISEMBER 2022 – The Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) had organized the 6th International Hospitality and Tourism Conference (IHTC) for the year 2022. Spearheaded by the Faculty of Hotel and Tourism Management, UiTM Puncak Alam, Selangor Branch together with the Faculty of Hotel and Tourism Management, UiTM Sabah Branch, the conference was held at the Sabah International Conference Center (SICC) in Tanjung Lipat, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
In light of the success of the previous five conferences in Kuala Lumpur (1st), Penang (2nd), Indonesia (3rd), Kuala Lumpur (4th) and Selangor (5th), the conference chose to highlight sustainability with the theme “Revitalizing ASEAN Tourism: Building Sustainable Resilience”.
In addition, two Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Briwijaya University and Sabah Parks. Hopefully in future, this Memoranda may increase the collaboration and activities between the university, industry and academia field.
The rector of UiTM Sabah, Datuk Prof. Madya Dr. Hj. Abdul Kadir Hj. Rosline, had hoped that this conference continues to initiate the need for both, industry and academia to revitalise and build sustainable resilience for the tourism industry, fitting to this year’s conference theme. “The conference would discuss four main topics, covering Marketing: Selling Sabah as a must-visit tourism destination: The insider input (1), Contemporary Issues: Contemporary trends and challenges in Southeast Asian tourism cities (2), Halal or Muslim-Friendly Market: Muslim-Friendly Travel Market in Southeast Asia: The Future of Travel? (3), and Sustainability of MICE Industry: Sustainability of the business events industry: Lessons learned (4).”
Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Finance & Corporate) of Sabah Tourism Board representing the Minister of Tourism, Culture an Environment Sabah Datuk Jafry Ariffin, Mr. Julinus Jeffery Jimit, had praised Sabah’s relentless effort in the pursuit of speeding up its growth and development, particularly in progressing tourism after facing an immense challenge in restoring the state’s economy. “We have chosen to resolve this by charting the future of our beloved state for the next five years leading to the launch of Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) Development Plan with three main thrusts in Agriculture, Industry, and Tourism.”
“The development plan acts as our roadmap to lead Sabah on its road to recovery. We have witnessed Community-based Tourism including Rural-based Tourism thriving and growing, allowing the airlines to also resume their international routes into Sabah. It is expected that Sabah will have additional 24 international flights per week from December 2022 to January 2023 which will add 52% to the current international seat capacity. Moreover, the recently launched MYAirline has also chosen Kota Kinabalu International Airport as one of its main ports of entry,” he added.
Interestingly, the participants would also celebrate “International Mountain Day”. This conference is the only programme listed in the United Nation World Tourism Organization website for the International Mountain Day Celebration. The event has become an annual event in Sabah, where it will be yearly on the 11th December. This celebration is to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development, and to build alliances that will bring positive change to mountain peoples and environments around the world.
Surely, this conference will continue to provide opportunities for industry and academia in reviving and building resilience that can be utilised for the tourism and hospitality sector after the Covid-19 pandemic.