KUDAT (May 20): Kudat is dubbed the “Bali of Borneo” due to the similarities of tourism product activities that could attract foreign tourists if further developed.
Sabah Tourism, Culture, and Environment Assistant Minister cum Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said Kudat has a great deal of rural tourism potential due to its beautiful nature and islands with unique stories.
“Bali is well-known among foreign tourists for its culture and surfing sports. Kudat has it all too, with crystal-clear beaches and surfable waves. We share the same characteristic.
“However, it is also up to the community to popularize Kudat and work to highlight the uniqueness of this area,” he said at the launching of Tajau Laut Rural Community Tourism Association here, on Friday.
Also present were Federation of Rural Tourism Association Sabah president Walter Kandayon; Tajau Laut village chief Lamat Alip; Village Development and Security Committee (JPKK) chief Abdul Salleh; and Tajau Laut Rural Community Tourism Association president Junaidi Awang Bulat.
Joniston said his ministry and the Sabah Tourism Board are ever ready to assist the community in promoting tourism products available in Kudat.
“At the same time, the local community must equip themselves with knowledge about interesting activities and destinations that can be introduced to tourists when they come here.
“I am indeed proud to see the Tajau Laut community working together in unity to develop tourism activities.
I can see that Tajau Laut Rural Community Tourism Association can be an example for other villages in Kudat to follow suit.
“Such cooperation is very important, especially when tourists come to see and learn for themselves how the village community creates tourism activities in their respective areas,” he said.
Joniston also said Kudat has benefitted from the state government’s special allocation meant to assist tourism operators affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
For Kudat, he said 16 operators had successfully submitted for the grant totalling RM305,930, adding Tajau Laut Guesthouse is among the recipients.
The Tajau Laut Rural Community Tourism Association was established a year ago to encourage villagers to take part in transforming the Kampung Tajau Laut into a promising tourism product.
Currently, the village has only one tourist accommodation Tajau Laut Guesthouse operated by Junaidi.
Tourists and visitors can enjoy snorkelling, kayaking, fishing, coral conservation, and cooking, among others at Kampung Tajau Laut.
Meanwhile, Lamat said the setting up of an association has bolstered the villagers’ sense of community and teamwork, allowing them to carry out a wide range of activities.
“There have been agencies and other associations running programs here as well, and hopefully this will boost the potential of Kampung Tajau Laut,” he said.
He also encouraged the association to recruit more villagers as members to ensure that no one is left out of tourism opportunities and efforts to empower them.