KOTA KINABALU: Tourism players in Sabah may soon be able to introduce their goods and services to the world after a deal was signed to develop a smartphone app known as Hello Sabah.
Sri Pelancongan Sabah, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Sabah Tourism Board, and Tourplus Technology inked the service agreement to develop the app which would serve as a digital platform for the state’s tourism industry.
The app would allow local tourism product owners and industry players from the public and private sectors to market their goods and services.
It will also feature an online booking platform for rural tourism and community-based tourism, among others.
The agreement was signed between Sri Pelancongan Sabah general manager Zachary Mobijohn and TourPlus founder and chief executive officer Rickson Goh at a hotel here.
Witnessing the ceremony, Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said the Sabah Tourism Board would monitor the progress and success of the app in achieving its purpose, including in promoting rural tourism.
“As the board chairman, I am extremely happy to see rural tourism operators included in this initiative.
“The rural tourism sector has been through a lot of ups and downs since 2014 with some community-based tourism operators now earning Asean and global standard recognitions.
“We aspire to promote our rural areas into world-class rural tourism destinations by 2030, and to do so, we need to be able to provide a digital platform to present our rich culture, tradition, food, handicraft and local community way of life to the world,” he said.
Bangkuai also said it was necessary for the Hello Sabah developers to work with the Sabah Federation of Rural Tourism Association to obtain their input or strategy for the app to effectively aid rural operators in marketing and promoting their products or destinations.
“While it is important to promote creativity and get rural businesses on board the digital train, it is also essential to establish key performance indicators to assess the effectiveness of the app and collect feedback from all stakeholders.
“This way, we will have a better grasp of how an app fits into a business,” he said.
Separately, Mobijohn said Sri Pelancongan Sabah would play a role as a strategic partner in the development of the app.
The application, he said, is set to promote Sabah’s tourism industry by utilising Tourplus’ advanced technology. He said they aimed to have up to 100,000 merchants on the app as its ultimate target.
“Merchants who are interested to be featured on this platform must pay a listing fee of RM300.
“However, in order to entice more merchants to take advantage of this platform, we will be waiving the listing fee to all those who sign up this year.
“We will only be charging a minimum payment gateway fee of 2.12% for the first 100 transactions. Normal commission rates will apply thereafter,” Mobijohn said.