THE LAUNCH OF “EXPLORE LABI”, MENDARAM LONGHOUSE, LABI, BELAIT, 14TH NOVEMBER 2019, WEDNESDAY
1. The launching of “Explore Labi” was officiated today by Yang Mulia Pengiran Haji Kamalrudzaman bin Pengiran Haji Mohd Ishak, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Primary resources and Tourism, as the personal representative of Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism. Also present at the event were Foreign Dignitaries and Representative of the Brunei Tourism, Deputy Permanent Secretaries, Representative from the Belait District Office, Head of Villages and Head of Longhouses, and Senior Government Officials.
2. In delivering the speech on behalf of the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, Yang Mulia Pengiran Haji Kamalrudzaman bin Pengiran Haji Ishak stated that the launch of the “Explore Labi” brochure aims to create awareness on Mukim Labi as a tourist destination and establish Mukim Labi as a “sustainable, responsible and inclusive” eco-tourism development and wildlife sanctuary destination.
3. Yang Mulia Pengiran Haji Kamalrudzaman bin Pengiran Haji Ishak said in his speech that the principle of “sustainable, responsible and inclusive” tourism is a concept incorporated for the “Explore Labi” project. Firstly, to be sustainable, is to further enhance the existing eco-tourism activities by placing emphasis on preservation efforts of Labi’s natural environment and its uniqueness, including encouraging tree planting projects, wildlife rehabilitation and release programmes and providing eco- friendly tours.
4. Secondly the principle of responsible tourism – is to encourage visitors to participate in the conservation and protection of nature and wildlife and preserving and respecting the culture, history and heritage of the local community.
5. And thirdly, the principle of inclusive tourism is to engage the local community in community-based tourism activities to generate their economic capability through producing and selling their local products and services to visitors. In addition, local residents are also encouraged to be actively involved in becoming tourism service providers, such as homestay owners, caterers, local guides and others.
6. The launch of Explore Labi also aimsto make Mukim Labi as an alternative destination to Temburong, ideal for educational outings and adventures such as for summer camping, extra-curricular and team-building activities, getaways and outward-bound programmes. There are also trails for trekking towards 2 popular waterfalls in Labi (Wasai Wong Kadir and Wasai Teraja), and wildlife watching. Mukim Labi boasts over 300 species of wildlife that are native to Borneo – 81 frog species, more than 10 species of snakes and reptiles, over 150 species of forest birds and many more. 7. Agriculture also plays a big part in Mukim Labi due to its fertile soil. More than 6000 hectares of land has been gazetted as agricultural developm
ent areas in the Belait District. There are plenty of farms and crop plantations such as coffee, paddy, various types of fruits and vegetables, and even a goat farm.
8. The settlements of the Iban ethnic tribes are another unique attraction in Mukim Labi that give visitors the opportunity to visit and stay overnight in the longhouses. There are currently 2 longhouses that are open to visitors – the Teraja Longhouse and the Mendaram Besar Longhouse.
9. In its efforts to promote Mukim Labi, the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, and in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Education, has released a Request for Proposal (RFP) to interested proponents to submit their proposals to develop, operate and maintain a one-stop visitor centre in Kampong Labi. This RFP project aims to provide visitors with facilities such as a registration counter, information centre, briefing and prayer rooms, souvenir and retail shops, F&B outlets, and stalls to sell local produce and handicrafts. In addition, this RFP aims to kickstart Labi as a new tourism destination in Brunei for eco- and community-based educational learning programmes and systems, which will engage visitors and the local residents on environmental sustainability and educational research.
10. The Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism also stressed that whilst conducting tourism activities in Labi, safety precautions and security measures must be ensured and assured at all times.
11. Some of the interesting activities to try out includes waterfall walk, wildlife watching, birdwatching, trekking and camping, farm tours to coffee field, fruit farm, paddy field and goat field, educational trip to Tropical Biodiversity Centre and visits to the longhouses to experience the way of life of the small Iban community.
12. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism has also officiated the Brunei Sports and Adventure activities, Discover Muara package, the Brunei River Heritage Trail and Kampong Ayer Walking Trail.
13. Various tourism products in the “Explore Labi” brochure were also on offer at the event, which consisted of 6 exhibitors by tourism service providers and travel tour operators in support of the launch of the promotion. The residents of the Mendaram Besar Longhouse were present, during the event, to showcase their traditional performance and handicrafts. -