Issued by Sabah Tourism Board
Nestled against the backdrop of green mountains about 10 kilometres away from Pekan Kiulu, lies a picturesque community-based tourism spot that awaits adventure seekers.
The Lingga Eco Tourism Centre (LET) offers visitors both extreme and relaxing nature activities. The site is surrounded by the gushing river of Kiulu, with its beautiful vista guaranteed to put visitors in an instant state of calm.
Since its establishment in 2018, LET chairman Kait Lansangan said they received about 4,000 visitors, including independent travellers from Canada, United Kingdom, and Korea.
Many of them were visitors who wanted to explore and experience an off-beat rural destination, he added.
“Seeing the potential of operating a community-based tourism destination, the villagers worked together to create a hiking trail. The 7-kilometre Dapako Hill trail quickly became popular among local adventurers.
“Many of them recorded their experience and promoted Dapako Hill on social media. Most of our international visitors came to know about LET via YouTube,” said Lansangan, adding tourism activity in Kampung Lingga has helped to bring income to the community.
To offer visitors extreme hiking adventures, the community-based tourism centre has opened a new 8.5-kilometre trail dubbed the Ratu Trail, where hikers can experience hiking on a steep path.
Other activities available at LET are abseiling, flying fox, rafting, camping, and swimming.
In the efforts to empower the villagers, Lansangan said LET has also set up a welfare unit to give back to the community.
Through this unit, LET contributes a sum of money to family suffering great a loss, to pay for villagers’ hospital admission fees, and to students entering university, among others.
“Although the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the community, we remain eager to resume tourism activities in this village. With the reopening of borders for interstate travel, we hope to receive more visitors from outside of Sabah while maintaining a strict standard operating procedure.
“We also thank Sabah Tourism Board and Kiulu Tourism Association for assisting us in developing our product because without their supports, LET will not be a success,” said Lansangan.
On Friday, Sabah Tourism, Culture, and Environment Assistant Minister cum Sabah Tourism Board chairman Jonistan Bangkuai visited Kampung Lingga to launch LET multipurpose hall and to hand over Sabah New Deal assistance.
The LET open hall is among 32 projects to build and upgrade rural tourism infrastructure under the Sabah New Deal for Kiulu, which involves total financial assistance of RM640,000.
Bangkuai praised LET for its initiative and commitment to looking after its community, adding Kampung Lingga community-based tourism could set an example for others to follow suit.
“The economic spillover as a result of the opening of a tourism centre in this village can be seen where LET is able to help many families. This is what we want to see – villagers get the benefit.
“Indeed, this community-based tourism concept can help enhance unity and cooperation among villagers, increase the people’s economic, and raise environmental cleanliness awareness.
“At Sabah Tourism Board, we want to see Sabah be a model for rural and community-based tourism. Other states have come to Sabah to see how we operate and hopefully, international industry players will do so in the future as well,” he said.
During his visit, Bangkuai also announced the state government had approved RM220,000 allocation to set up Kiulu Tourism Information Centre to provide visitors with details about nearby attractions, lodgings, maps, and other items relevant to tourism.