By Olivia Miwil
Pictures by Olivia Miwil
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is optimistic that rural tourism will gain popularity and benefit locals in the long run.
Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said the recent Rural Tourism roadshow held at a shopping mall was a success.
"The two-day inaugural roadshow attracted 10,000 visitors and the number of people visting the four promoted places-Tambunan, Kiulu, Ranau, Kadamaian-is also increasing.
"Most districts in the state have also activated their committees to develop rural tourism at their places," he said during a press conference on Universiti Malaysia Sabah's (UMS) Mulberry project with the people of Kampung Tudan.
Joniston added rural tourism products would not only benefit the industry but also help to generate income among villagers.
On the mulberry project at Kampung Tudan, which is about 50 kilometers from here, he said the villagers should consider setting up homestays.
"Now that the village has become UMS' pilot project on mulberry cultivation with its leaves processed into tea, lotion and other items, it can be developed in eco and agrotourism," he said, adding the village is also producing stingless bee honey.
Joniston, who is also Kiulu state assemblyman, added the road infrastructure to the village would soon be upgraded.
The mulberry products, branded as Tudan Mulberry, will be marketed and sold via the board's subsidiary company Sri Pelancongan Sabah Sdn Bhd.