Far-flung villages not left out in tourism developments

Far-flung villages in Sabah won’t be left out on efforts to boost the livelihoods of rural communities through tourism, stated Sabah Tourism Board (STB) Chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.

To date, STB has catalogued 133 rural tourism products across the 10 poorest districts in Sabah, including community-based tourism, homestays, and privately owned ventures.

The districts are Tongod (six products), Beluran (two), Pitas (five), Kinabatangan (six), Kota Marudu (20), Tuaran (38), Ranau (35), and Lahad Datu (12), as highlighted by Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli in recent Dewan Rakyat sitting as poverty-stricken areas based on the Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2022 report.

Two others are Nabawan (three products) and Telupid (six), listed in the Statistics Department’s Poverty Index 2022 report.

Joniston who is also the Assistant Tourism, Culture, and Environment Minister, highlighted the pivotal of tourism in driving economic recovery within these districts.

“The STB’s product division is tasked to identify potential rural tourism products and provide essential aid to local communities to grow in tourism,” he said.

He expressed hope to meet with Rafizi to present tourism-related initiatives, emphasising the need for cohesive efforts to uplift Sabah from the poverty line.

“I believe it’s crucial to involve the Federal Ministry of Economy in our endeavours as this will enable them to understand better how they can support Sabah’s journey out of poverty.

“We firmly believe that tourism is a cornerstone in empowering rural communities and fostering economic growth.

“As most rural folks are farmers, we also see great potential in translating agricultural activities into agro-tourism experiences,” he added.

The development of tourism products focusing on the poorest districts was brought up during STB’s Product Rural Tourism Committee meeting.

The discussions focused on plans to enhance tourism activities to yield concrete results.

Among the 133 rural tourism attractions, Sabah Tourism’s product team have listed several established products in all 10 districts.

They are Tinopikon Langkabon Eco-Tourism, Kg Kulat Tagal Eco-Tourism, Kg Totomolon Tagal Eco-Tourism, and Chinese Heritage House Kuala Tongod in Tongod; Sugut Conservation Area and (Death March Trail) Tangkol Crossing Monument Kg Muanad in Beluran; Supirak Island, Piniapat Hill, Pitas Floating Coral Bar, and Kem Cinta Alam Paitan in Pitas; as well as Miso Walai Homestay, Suan Lamba Kg Lanut, and Bilit Homestay in Kinabatangan.

Among Kota Marudu’s established tourism products include Walai Tobilung Kg Minansad, Sorinsim Sub Station, Kokobuan waterfall Eco-Tourism Kg Gana, Liogu Noruod Kg Sungoi, Togudon Geo Tourism Kg Togudon, Liogu Stamping Kg Marak Park, and Mt Cochrane Kg. Kirangawan.

Some of Tuaran-Tamparuli products are the Mantaranau Jungle Track & Recreation, Kokobuan Trig Hill & Eco Tourism, Murug-Turug Eco-Tourism, Mara Kara Hill & Eco-Tourism Koperasi Pelancongan Kg Tiong Simpodon, Monggiland Eco-Tourism, and Bundu Tohuri Forest Adventure Park.

As for Tuaran-Kiulu, some established products are identified as Moninduk Sirung Kg Tiong Temburong, Kaliposuan Recreation View, Mitabang Homestay, Dapako Hill Lingga Eco-Tourism, Pusat Rekreasi Bambangan Lama, Tongkoluson Campsite, Kiulu Farmstay, Kampung Stay Tombung, Sinorut Eco-Tourism, Lambing Park Eco Tourism, Tukad Gonipis Sandangau, Pomompuhunyan Sinompuruan Campsite, Sinansag Eco-Tourism, Lubok Riverside Campsite and Recreation Centre, Lokub Eco-Tourism, Ratau Eco-Tourism, Poturidong River and Nature Hike, Tagahas Cultural Group Pukak Village, and Talantang Eco-Tourism.

Ranau has established Tagal Luanti, Tagal Nalapak, Tukad Gonipis Kg. Tudan, Bombon Marakau, Lugas Hill Eco-Tourism, Tiang Lama Eco-Tourism, Lugas Hill, Tinagas Cultural Centre Kg. Sinurai, Tagal Thinkoyodon Malinsau Darat, Wasai Gondou Eco Tourism Kg Tinindoi, Batu Payung Campsite, Kg Mangkapoh Handicraft Centre, Meridi Eco-Tourism, and Trigona Eraros Farm.

In Lahad Datu, established products are Pulau Buta Eco-Tourism, W Bay Payang, Inap Desa Sri Payung, Borneo Paradise, Irunji Agro Tourism, Segama ATV & Village Stay, Serebpit Eco-Tourism Adventure, Tambisan Island Lodge, Segangan Magrove, Bukit Belacon, Bukit Tapadung, and Merabung Waterfall.

Sabah tourism identified Batu Punggul, Tahaa Tininting Kg Salinatan Pensiangan, and Balaron Eco Tourism as established products in Nabawan, while Bakong-Bakong Eco Tourism and Tingkoyodon Gaab Waterfall are established attractions available in Telupid.

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