DBKK plans to hold fruit festivals to attract tourists to homestays

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Sabin (right) and Abidin (second right) launching the Id Pogimpaan homestay.

KOTA KINABALU (Feb 17): The Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) plans to hold local fruit festivals to attract more domestic and foreign tourists to visit four registered homestays around the city under its supervision.

Mayor Dato’ Sri Dr Sabin Samitah said the four homestays are Desa Cinta Kobuni, Id Kalangadan, Darau Wetland, and most recently, Id Pogimpaan, which are all under its Community-Based Tourism (CBT) initiative.

He said a detailed discussion will be held in the near future between DBKK and several related agencies including the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) for this effort.

“We see that holding fruit festivals in these areas can be a potential attraction for tourists to visit the homestays, at the same time adding a new tourism product that can be commercialised and added on to existing products, as well as increasing the income of the homestay operators themselves.

“For example, the Id Pogimpaan homestay area in Kampung Binaung Baru, Manggatal, is famous for its attractive scenery and has an existing fruit farming area, and this is an area that can achieve our desired goal,” he told reporters when launching the Id Pogimpaan homestay here on Saturday.

Sabin said DBKK will make sure the proposal can be implemented considering it is part of the seven strategies that have been outlined involving 16 programmes carried out and will be implemented by DBKK.

He explained that among the objectives of this programme is to improve the socio-economics of the local community through involvement in tourism activities by diversifying and upgrading various tourism products and being able to conserve natural resources while maintaining the heritage and culture of the local community.

Meanwhile, he said the Id Pogimpaan homestay is a new attraction for foreign tourists who want to experience staying in a village-style homestay.

He said it has a lot of potential and opportunity to be developed as a source of additional income for the city community and further contribute to the state’s economic development.

“The first homestay in the programme to be registered under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) was Desa Cinta Kobuni in 2017, followed by Id Kalangadan in 2020, Darau Wetland in 2022, and now, Id Pogimpaan in 2023.

“This effort shows that DBKK always supports the development of homestay programmes so that it is always able to be competitive in the tourism industry, indirectly improving the community’s economy, especially in the city area,” he said.

Sabin also advised the programme’s homestay operators and committee members to focus on three matters when it comes to managing the homestays.

First, to ensure the aspect of cleanliness and beauty in each homestay village so that they become an attraction for tourists and customers who want to visit this area.

Second, to multiply the number of unique events in each homestay village to be enjoyed by tourists.

Third, to increase promotional efforts to introduce the homestay areas to domestic and foreign tourists.

“On behalf of DBKK, I am ready to help in the three above matters to ensure the Id Pogimpaan homestay and the other existing homestays can increase the number of tourists coming to the areas,” he said.

Launching the Id Pogimpaan homestay alongside Sabin was Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Abidin Madingkir, who stressed that the State Government is always paying attention to the state’s tourism sector, including rural tourism, such as through the homestay programme.

Abidin explained that DBKK has been assisting the operators of the four homestays under its CBT initiative – who were handpicked by the villagers – from the ground up, including by providing them with capacity building courses, helping them to register with MOTAC, carry out promotions, and offer infrastructure or facility aid, until they are capable of being independent.

He said DBKK is currently identifying more suitable areas to expand the homestay programme, reiterating the State Government’s focus on rural tourism as it can help uplift the standard of living of the involved villages.

In this regard, Abidin also suggested the operators of the four homestays and the DBKK Tourism Development Department tighten their relationship with the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA).

He said MATTA also organises a lot of exhibitions, seminars, conventions and tourism workshops in each state to attract more tourists to visit Sabah, which the homestay operators should take advantage of.

“If this recommendation is implemented, we will be able to increase the promotion of tourism for each year, especially in the city. This will indirectly bring up the homestay programme as an attraction for domestic and foreign tourists in the future.

“We would like to see the four homestays become among the focus of foreign tourists who want to feel the atmosphere of living in a village in the city here,” he said.

Also present was Inanam assemblyman Peto Galim.