Sabah Agriculture Park, Tenom.
KOTA KINABALU: The State Rural Tourism Joint Steering Committee involving five State Ministries has identified 12 exceptional agro-based products that will highlight Sabah as a thriving rural tourism hub.
These unique products, carefully selected for their sustainable practices, are in Kota Belud (Mount Kinabalu Coffee and Sunduan Pisompuruan Everything Pineapple); Kudat (Tampakan Fish Farm, and Gombizau Honey Bee Farm); and Kota Marudu (Saujana Hill).
Others are in Lahad Datu (Irunji Agro Tourism); Beaufort (Selagon Agro Farm); and Tenom (Sabah Agriculture Park, Padas Farmstay, Yong Farmstay, Yit Foh Tenom Coffee, and Fatt Choi Coffee); and Ranau (Desa Cattle Dairy Farm).
Chaired by Sabah Tourism Board (STB) Chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, the committee comprises representatives from the Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry; Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Industry Ministry; Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry; Rural Development Ministry; and Local Government and Housing Ministry.
Joniston chairing the State Rural Tourism Joint Steering Committee meeting at STB, Kota Kinabalu, today.
It aimed to foster collaboration among the ministries and focus on devising effective strategies to boost the visibility of Sabah’s rural tourism products and enhance the overall visitor experience.
Among the crucial topics deliberated during the meeting was addressing infrastructure needs such as roads and unlicensed homestays, particularly in rural areas.
The committee emphasised the importance of promoting regulated lodging options to provide tourists with safe and authentic experiences while benefiting local hosts and communities.
Joniston, who is also State Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, stressed that the success of agrotourism relies on a concerted effort from all involved ministries, each leveraging its unique capabilities to empower rural communities and create sustainable growth opportunities.
He expressed confidence that Sabah, with the united support of the ministries, is poised to share its rich agricultural heritage with the world, solidifying its position as a prime agro-based tourism destination.
To ensure these unique destinations receive the attention they deserve, the committee called for improved amenities and road infrastructure, making access easier for local and international visitors.
“Sabah’s agro-based tourism journey has now set its course towards a future of sustainable growth, cultural preservation and community empowerment.
“Through collaborative efforts and careful planning, Sabah will undoubtedly flourish as a remarkable and responsible destination, providing visitors with memorable experiences and positively impacting the lives of local communities,” said Joniston.