TUARAN: Sungai Kiulu which runs through many villages in the sub-district of Kiulu is like the Nile to the locals.
A major attraction for white-water rafting over the past 15 years, there are now economic spin-offs mainly related to tourism.
Some 60km away from Kota Kinabalu, the crystal clear river offers a peaceful environment with its scenic surroundings.
The fish habitat in the river is maintained through the Tagal System, a fish and environmental conservation effort which was started by the people living along the riverbank, which has led to added tourism activities.
The tourism industry in Kiulu, which started on a small scale 20 years ago, is now flourishing with higher participation of rural tourism operators, said Kiulu Tourism Association (KTA) president Dr Edmond Guntis.
“Tourism development in Kiulu is now influenced by several factors including the involvement of locals in rural tourism, which is very encouraging due to the natural beauty of Sungai Kiulu, and this has provided opportunities for locals to become tour operators.
In addition, he said the rural tourism sector in Kiulu was also providing permanent jobs to the local folk.
Sabah Ulu Kiulu Mukim Ecotourism Solution and Technology Society deputy chairman, Lodimun Balantis, said the development of the tourism sector in the Kiulu area had been a catalyst to upgrading the lives of the locals .
“It cannot be denied that the beauty and richness of the environment in Kiulu, mainly the breathtaking and unpolluted river, are the major factors for the expanding tourism sector in Kiulu,” he said.
Lodimun said Borneo Eco Tours had set up a tourism centre in Kampung Mantob, Ulu Kiulu, and this had created job opportunities.
Kiulu, which is located in the Tuaran area, spans 647sq km and has 105 villages. It is the biggest state constituency in the Tuaran parliamentary constituency. It has a population of over 50,000, the majority being Kadazandusun. — Bernama