SELANGOR is a popular destination for tourists as well as adventure seekers. Besides having cosmopolitan designer outlets and fining dining restaurants, the state is also home to many budget shopping outlets and restaurants.
The outskirts of Selangor boast lush greenery and picturesque waterfalls and rivers that are suited for white water rafting and tubing.
Wanting to offer tourists the best options and to empower local communities, Tourism Selangor has introduced a system to train local residents and community members as tour guides to show visitors around their neighbourhoods.
This community-based tourism and experiential travel is a strategy conceptualised to lure more tourists to Selangor.
Tourism Selangor general manager Noorul Ashikin Mohd Din (pic) said suitable programmes have been tailored to train the locals in tour guiding.
“The state government, through Tourism Selangor, is committed to training and accrediting the local community hosts who will narrate to visitors about the location, its heritage and culture,” she said.
According to Noorul Ashikin, tourism is no longer just about holidaying and shopping as tourists nowadays are more interested in the unique culture and historical value of a place.
“Selangor is a state with big potential to meet these requirements,” said Noorul Ashikin.
Kuala Kubu-based white water tubing operator Marjorie Gabriel welcomed the move and said it would also address the issue of unemployment among youths.
“In Kuala Kubu Baru, for instance, young people have to move to the city to work. With this initiative, they can remain in their hometown while earning a living,” she said.
She added that showing off their neighbourhood to tourists also instilled a sense of pride among the local youngsters.
According to Gabriel, small towns can be alluring to foreign tourists due to their old charm and tranquil surroundings.
Besides Tourism Selangor, there are other groups that are doing their bit to strengthen the state’s tourism industry.
Padi farmer Allen Lim, who is based in Sekinchan, has taken his business a step further by setting up a padi museum, which receives about 10,000 visitors a month.
The move was intended to attract tourists, both foreign and local, to visit Sekinchan and enjoy the sight of its lush green paddy fields.
“We also have exhibits in the museum to show people how padi farming has evolved over the years,” Lim added.
Another initiative is the training of former homeless people as tour guides, which is being spearheaded by non-profit organisation Yellow House.
Under the Yellow House programme, candidates are trained on how to acquire an alternative sustainable livelihood through capacity building.
“We are looking at training guides to promote Ampang as a tourism destination due to its rich history,” said Yellow House founder M. Shyam Priah.
She added that Ampang has a rich history of tin mining in the state and this could be turned into a tourist attraction.