KOTA KINABALU: Penampang is now being touted as ‘Sabah’s Gateway to Kadazan Native and Culture’ to attract more tourists to visit the district.
It was officially launched as such by Penampang district officer, Luvita Koisun at the JBorneo Native Village, Lok Kawi yesterday.
“I assure you that we will continue to improve and listen to all your comments, views and constructive ideas on how we can improve our district within the framework of tourism,” she said.
She said the Kadazan people pride themselves in having unique dishes such as the pickled bambangan and the signature hinava, a Kadazan raw fish salad.
“The Kadazan in many ways are Chinese too and I hope the Chinese, Taiwan and Hong Kong market will benefit much from this itinerary,” said Luvita.
She hoped it would signal for more events in Penampang even as the Penampang District Council headed by Mathew Gumpil is working on plans to rejuvenate the sleepy Donggongon with a bazaar and night street market.
“All these will only be possible with your support as you continue to bring more tourists into our town,” she said when addressing a group of 70 local travel agents led by the Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (SATTA) chairman, Dato’ Seri Winston Liaw.
There are also plans to clean up the muddy Moyog River under a five-year programme starting in August this year based on a joint-effort with non-government organisations.
The Penampang District Office will attempt to create a new Malaysia Guinness Book of Record for planting the most trees along a river bank.
Luvita pointed out that Penampang already had other tourism attractions such as the Monsopiad Cultural Village and the Inobong Park Salt trails which are popular among students on exchange programmes from Japan and Eastern Europe.
“We also have 27 tagal sites and recently I hosted the Commonwealth Ministerial Conference Meeting site visit to Kampung Tinopikon Tagal,” she added.
Other attractions include the century-old St. Michael’s Church, the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park and further inland is the Togudon Butterfly Farm which is the biggest producer and supplier of Shitake mushrooms as well as JBorneo, the first Kadazan musical theatre.
The Penampang Tourism Council which had been dormant for some time has been revived this year to promote the development of tourism in the district.
Meanwhile, Liaw proposed a river cruise in Moyog River that would also create income opportunities for the locals. “After visiting some of the tourism sites in Penampang, I think we can sell the products as all this time we have been promoting the islands, Kudat, Klias and Kuala Penyu as well as the seafood and corals but nothing on the local culture and history of the Kadazan,” he said.
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