Saturday, August 8

Tourism village plan in Karambunai

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KOTA KINABALU: The traditional village of Kampung Ratau Karambunai is poised to make a name in the state’s tourism industry as a destination for holiday makers who seek a quiet retreat.

Located in the valley of Bukit Sepanggar, some 30 minutes’ drive from the state capital, Kampung Ratau has been identified as having immense potential to be developed into a tourism village.

And efforts are already being initiated to develop this potential and transform it into actual product that will benefit the local populace as well as the tourism sector.

Karambunai assemblywoman Datuk Jainab Ahmad, who announced the plan yesterday, said Kampung Ratau has been included as part of an integrated economic development for Karambunai constituency.

“The aim is to make it a tourism village by 2013. So, we will develop the village as a tourism product in manner that the villagers would be able to capitalize on their existing way of life to earn additional income,” he said.

Jainab said the villagers in Kampung Ratau are mostly Dusun, Kadazan and Bajau who still practise traditional agriculture they inherited from their ancestors.

Besides the daily life of the community, she said the hilly terrain and location of village next to the sea offer a scenic and tranquil experience that outsiders would not mind paying to explore.

“The plan would involve developing only the existing resources in the village, such upgrading the facilities of the homestay programme participants and developing agriculture land, apart from providing the infrastructure for suitable additional activities like jungle tracking, arts and local culture.

“It will be focused on upgrading and packaging the resources owned by the villagers that are readily available in the area and not a new development project by government or private company,” she said, adding that the main objective of the whole thing is to generate economic opportunities through tourism activities that will directly benefit the locals.

According to Jainab, the programme would allow the villagers to use their resources and what they know to exploit business opportunities and to cater for visiting tourists.

She said the villagers would also be provided with training and assistance they need.

“The proposed development plan for Kampung Ratau will be launched on July 1 by Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

“Various activities will be held in conjunction with the event, such traditional food competition, Sugandoi, traditional clothes competition for children, traditional Bajau and Kadazandusun wedding and exhibition involving various government and private agencies.

“The launch is also an effort to encourage the villagers of Kampung Ratau and the surrounding areas to start taking advantage of economic potential available to them,” she said.