TUARAN (Mar 29): Communities in three Kiulu villages have developed new recreation and adventure-based products to generate income and attract visitors to their areas.
The new eco-tourism products are the Ratau Camp Site in Kampung Ratau, the Sangod-Hill hiking trail in Kampung Lokub, and the Watu Kokoluton hiking trail in Kampung Talantang.
These products were established as a result of the Sabah Community Adoption Programme project, carried out by the non-governmental organisation RYTHM Foundation and Good Shepherd Services, with the participation of the local community.
State’s Tourism, Culture, and Environment Assistant Minister cum Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said the new eco-tourism destinations developed by the community had the potential to attract more visitors and adventure seekers to explore Kiulu.
“This will strengthen Kiulu’s position as a hub for community-based eco-tourism activities in the state.
“My Ministry and the Sabah Tourism are always supportive of the development of community-based tourism, and we are always on the lookout for new rural destination products that can be introduced to tourists, especially when our country’s borders reopen on April 1,” he said at the launching of the Sabah Community Adoption Programme project and the opening of three new eco-tourism sites at Kampung Lokub here on Monday.
Also present were RYTHM Foundation head, Santhi Periasamy; Good Shepherd Service Board member, Petrus Gimbad; Sabah Tourism Board Chief Financial Officer Julinus Jeffery Jimit, Federation of Rural Tourism Association Sabah president Walter Kandayon, and Kiulu Tourism Association chairman, Mejin Moginggow.
The community project aims to provide academic support and strengthen youth skills in the field of tourism to reduce poverty among rural communities.
Joniston, who is also the Kiulu assemblyman, said the development initiative was necessary to encourage young people to take opportunities and work together to improve their community.
He said undertaking community-based eco-tourism activities can generate lucrative income and requires the involvement of all villagers to make their tourist spots attractive and well-known.
“Besides that, agriculture is also a viable tourism product. Agro-ecotourism activities can be developed by local communities using their existing capabilities.
“Therefore, I call on all communities to make the best use of the training opportunities provided to develop themselves and at the same time improve the living standards of all villagers,” he said.
Meanwhile, the community project has also benefited 48 SK Lokub pupils through academic support conducted by youths from Kampung Ratau, Kampung Lokub, and Kampung Talantang.
In the initiative, the youths took on the role of a tutor to mentor schoolchildren face-to-face, as learning in schools shifts entirely to online.