The launching of the ‘Explore Labi’ project will establish Mukim Labi as a sustainable, responsible and inclusive eco-tourism spot and wildlife sanctuary, said Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) Pengiran Haji Kamalrudzaman bin Pengiran Haji Mohd Ishak.
He said this during the launching of the ‘Explore Labi’ project at the Mendaram Besar Longhouse in Kampong Labi II yesterday.
He said Mukim Labi, with an area of about 47,784 hectares, has been proposed to be an alternative destination to Temburong, and is ideal for educational outings and adventures including summer camping, extra-curricular and team-building activities, as well as getaways and outward-bound programmes.
“There are also trails for trekking towards two popular waterfalls – Wasai Wong Kadir and Wasai Teraja – and wildlife watching,” he said.
Pengiran Haji Kamalrudzaman also emphasised that the mukim is home to over 300 species of wildlife that are native to Borneo, 81 frog species, more than 10 species of snakes and reptiles, as well as over 150 species of forest birds.
He said the establishment of Mukim Labi as a destination for eco-tourism aims to enhance existing eco-tourism activities by emphasising on the preservation efforts of the natural environment including tree planting projects, wildlife rehabilitation and release programmes, as well as providing eco-tours catering.
“It is also to encourage visitors to work together with the local community to support and cooperate in the conservation and protection of our nature and wildlife while preserving and respecting the culture, history and heritage of the local community,” said the permanent secretary.
On inclusive tourism, he hoped that it will encourage and inspire the local community to engage in community-based tourism activities to generate the economy by producing and selling local products and services.
“Local residents are also encouraged to be involved in becoming tourism service providers including homestay owners, caterers, local guides and others,” he said.
Pengiran Haji Kamalrudzaman also said over 6,000 hectares of land are being gazetted as agricultural development areas in the Belait District which can help generate interest in the industry as well as to inspire visitors, through site visits and tours to these farms and crop plantation.
“What makes Labi a unique experience for visitors is the visit and overnight stay at an Iban longhouse,” he said as the two longhouses, Teraja Longhouse and Mendaram Besar Longhouse, are open to visitors as it is one of the main drivers for community-based tourism in the area. “The Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Education, is inviting Request For Proposals to develop, operate and maintain a one-stop visitor centre in Kampong Labi,” he said.
Pengiran Haji Kamalrudzaman added that the opening of the centre can help provide facilities including a registration counter, information centre, briefing and prayer rooms, souvenir and retail shops, food and beverages (F&B) outlets, and stalls to sell local produce and handicrafts.
“This centre aims to kick-start Labi as a new tourism destination in Brunei for eco- and community-based educational learning programmes and systems, which will engage visitors and the residents on environmental sustainability and educational research,” he said.