Liew (centre) receiving a chef uniform from Volkmar (4th right). Looking on are Zachary (left), Jee (2nd right) and the rest of the delegation.
KOTA KINABALU: There is much potential for collaboration between the Czech Republic and Sabah in terms of tourism and trade, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew.
The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment is receptive to the idea of sending a delegation from the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) on a tourism and trade mission to the Republic next year.
Honorary Consul of the Honorary Consulate of the Czech Republic, Vincent H.K. Tan, who is based in Sabah, has agreed to coordinate the mission.
“Realising that tourism is a major service industry in the Czech Republic, and that we have yet to tap the Czech travel market, I believe it is mutually beneficial for Sabah and the Republic to promote each other as a tourist destination where we can showcase our historical and cultural heritage, among other natural attractions.
“My Ministry through the Sabah Tourism Board is keen to penetrate the European market in an effort to diversify the tourism market,” she said during a courtesy call by the Ambassador of the Embassy of the Czech Republic to Malaysia, HE Milan Hupcej, Thursday.
He was accompanied by the Embassy’s Economic Counsellor, R&D and Education, Miss Lenka Tomanova, and Tan on his first official visit to Sabah since taking office in March this year.
HE Milan concurred with Liew that there is a lot of potential for collaboration ranging from tourism and trade to environmental protection, biodiversity and waste management, saying his country has a huge trade volume.
“That is why we choose your state (Sabah),” he told the Minister. “I am pleased to hear your interest in engaging with the people in my country. We can put our experts together because we (Czechepublic) want to share our green technologies and engineering expertise. Let’s do some promotion for a start. Malaysia is a country with a good reputation, and has a conducive environment for conducting business.”
Saying the Czech Republic market is lucrative, he said : “Tourism is a big industry in the Republic which is a major tourist destination in Europe. Czechs also travel a lot all over the world.
There are about 50,000 Czechs coming to Malaysia.”While we (Czech Republic) promote our country first, promotion from your side (Sabah) with the help of the media is also necessary to develop high quality tourism.”
The Ambassador stressed that Sabah should be included in the Visit Malaysia Year 2020 Agenda. “You have the National Park and beautiful beaches.”
Also present were the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Datuk William Baya, STB General Manager, Noredah Othman and MICE Manager Georgina Jinu.