BAU: The Brooke Trail at Mount Serembu, Bau, is set to be the state’s latest tourism product.
Tourism Deputy Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit said the area was expected to attract more than 5,000 tourists after its completion.
He said a proposal from Bau District Council to develop the site would be sent to his ministry soon.
“The proposal will be used to see how much allocation is needed for the project. However, we expect the overall cost to be more than RM1 million for the first phase,” he said on Saturday during the Brooke Trail expedition near Kampung Peninjau Lama.
He added that the area was very significant to the state’s tourism sector because it used to house White Rajah James Brooke cottage that was built in 1824.
According to a villager, only wooden structures of the cottage remained today.
Dawos said: “The three-bedroom bungalow was used by the White Rajah as a rest house. We are also planning to rebuilt the bungalow according to its original architecture, which will cost about RM150,000 to RM200,000.”
He said they also planned to build a tourism information centre and a lookout tower and improve on the hiking trails if allocations were approved.
“We will also look into improvement work for the 3km mountain trails because currently the trail is a bit dangerous,” he said.
“We will also implement a new tourism strategy called ‘community tourism’ where the area is managed by the local community.
“Many of them here have ample knowledge about the natural and cultural surrounding of the area and can act as tour guides,” he stated.
Besides eco-tourism, Dawos said that the area’s deep connection between their culture and nature would attract many western tourists.
“There are lots of things that are unique to this place. One of them is the ceremonial huts used by the locals to keep sacred items believed to have magical powers that protect the village.
“There are also unique medicinal plants such as the Amophyllea and others that are significant to the Bidayuh culture,” he said.
The expedition was participated by more than 200 people from government agencies, travel agencies, scientist, villagers and the media.