Create calendar of Kaamatan event so tourists can get full festival experience, says Sabah tourism chief

By TIN Media | Sabah Published 3 months ago on 1 June 2023
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Pesta Kaamatan can be promoted more comprehensively to visitors to Sabah, with the creation of a schedule of events.

The state celebrates the month-long festival in all districts and several other locations before culminating in the main event on May 30 and 31.

Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said districts in Sabah should consider creating an immersive and comprehensive Kaamatan calendar to showcase the rich tapestry of Sabah.

"Such initiatives would unlock the hidden gems of small-scale celebrations in picturesque rural villages, allowing tourists to experience the vibrant festivities," he added.

"The calendar should be made available to tourists and tour agencies so they can plan itineraries during the month-long Kaamatan celebration in May, and choose to visit villages that align with their interests and desired experiences.

"Having such a calendar will make it easy for the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) to assist with promotional efforts," he said at the opening of the Kaamatan Celebration at Kampung Ponohuon in Kiulu on Monday.

Joniston, who is STB chairman, said this Kaamatan calendar would contribute to the equitable distribution of tourism opportunities across Sabah's districts.

He said larger towns and cities often received more attention while smaller villages and rural areas were overlooked.

"By showcasing the Kaamatan celebrations in different villages, the calendar aims to promote a more inclusive and balanced tourism landscape, encouraging visitors to explore lesser-known areas and supporting local economies.

"This initiative also aligns with the state's sustainable tourism goals, ensuring that the economic benefits of tourism reach all corners of Sabah," he added.

The collaboration should involve representatives from each district working closely with local communities and village leaders to gather accurate information about the Kaamatan celebrations, like the dates, locations, specific cultural activities and performances taking place in each village.

Joniston also attended the Moginakan – a reunion Festival for Kadazandusun families – at several homes in Kampung Tiong Tomburung.

Tiong Tomburung village chief Sipin Bin Sikui said the Moginakan was usually celebrated for two days from May 30, but could extend up to a week.

"It is the moment for distant relatives to make a trip back home to renew the bonds that have kept the family together all these years and to ensure it may never be severed.

"We will take turns visiting houses during this reunion, and Tiong Tomburung has over 20 homes," he said, adding that they would have to wait another seven years before it could host a Moginakan to clear the way for the other six villages that fall under the Tiong umbrella to have their own.


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