Sabah can learn from Yogyakarta’s award-winning Tourism Village
Published on: Saturday, February 04, 2023
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Sabah can learn from Yogyakarta’s award-winning Tourism Village
Joniston (third right) leading the STB delegation to visit Nglanggeran Tourism Village in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Also in the photo are Julinus (third left), Walter (right) and Sugeng (second left).
Yogyakarta: Taking cues from Yogyakarta’s award-winning Nglanggeran Tourism Village can help Sabah improve its own sustainable community-based tourism initiatives.

Sabah Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister cum Sabah Tourism Board (STB) Chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said this is paramount as the State is planning to have more of its tourism players achieve international recognition as part of the process of transforming Sabah into a world-class rural destination.

“We should not limit ourselves to our own examples of success, but instead look to the achievements of others and draw ideas and motivation from them.

“In this way, we will be able to raise the bar for rural tourism and make significant improvements. We want to see the high-end offering in our rural destination so we can lure quality tourists,” he said after touring the Nglanggeran Tourism Village, here, Friday.

Joniston was in Yogyakarta along with the STB team for the Asean Tourism Forum and to visit several attractions for products update.

Also present were STB Deputy Chief Executive Officer Julinus Jimit and Federation of Rural Tourism Association Sabah (FeRTAS) President Walter Kandayon, who is also a board member of STB.

Joniston said Sabah rural tourism players could learn from Nglanggeran Village’s effective marketing of itself as a unique and authentic tourism destination that draws visitors from around the world.

“I have informed the FeRTAS to get in touch with the Nglanggeran Tourism Village committee with the hope that we can make future engagements in Sabah,” he added.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has named Nglanggeran Tourism Village the World’s Best Tourism Village 2021. It had also won the 2017 Asean Community Based Tourism (CBT) Award.

Located within the Gunung Sewu Geopark, Nglanggeran offers a variety of tourism activities and services, such as cultural tours, homestays and outdoor recreation, appealing to a wide range of tourists.

Joniston said Sabah could also learn from the local experts here regarding how to manage geoparks and apply them to its own Kinabalu National Geopark, which covers the districts of Ranau, Kota Belud and Kota Marudu.

During the visit, Nglanggeran Tourism Village Manager Sugeng Handoko shared with the STB delegation that the village’s efforts to promote community-based tourism bring in approximately RM2 million each year. 

Following their tourism success, the village had to limit the number of visitors from 14,000 to 8,000 a month in order to focus on attracting quality tourists and ensuring sustainability.

Sugeng said they are more than willing to share their experience and at the same time learn more about the unique offerings in Sabah through engagement with Sabah’s community-based tourism players. 

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