Thursday, April 9

Culture, heritage and lifestyle the attractions, says MP

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TOURISM ATTRACTION: Sum, stirring salt, believes that traditional activities like salt-making could impress tourists.

BA KELALAN: Homestay operators here are told not go overboard by treating their guests as ‘VIPs’.

This reminder came from Lawas MP Datuk Henry Sum Agong, who also told them tourists actually wanted to savour and experience local cultures and lifestyle.

“Present them with reflection or glimpses of Lun Bawang culture, heritage and lifestyle through daily activities such as cooking of local cuisine.

“They expect and anticipate simplicity as they know they are staying with local families or kampung folk and not in hotels where they can’t experience local lifestyle and culture,” he said, reminding the operators to give visitors the genuine hospitality of the Lun Bawang community.

On the homestay, he told them that the ambiance, furniture and other aspects should be as natural as possible to reflect local lifestyle and culture.

“Try to avoid providing them with hotel services and furniture as it doesn’t fit the concept of homestay.

“Treat them as members of the family,” he said at the launching of Homestay Programme at Ba Kelalan.

As such, Sum reminded them to organise activities and programmes like cooking demonstrations, trips to the paddy fields and farms for the tourists, and give them space for their own activities.

“As such you must preserve your local culture and heritage especially among the younger generation. You must also make sure that the environment and the surrounding are clean and tidy,” he said, pointing out that Ba Kelalan had a lot of to offer in terms of its richness in culture, heritage and natural wonders.

A total of 14 houses or families took part in the programme.

The MP applauded the programme as it provided the families with extra income, besides giving them employment and business opportunities such as the cottage industry which help them get out of the poverty cycle.

He urged the Tourism Ministry to look into the possibility of extending the programme to seafront villages in Lawas such as Punang and Awat-Awat.