KOTA KINABALU, June 26 — Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin wants to see Tawau district live up to its name as a food haven in the state.

To this end, Jafry urged the Tawau Municipal Council to develop food based or gastronomy tourism in the district.

Jafry opined that gastronomy tourism will attract more visitors to the state to try out and explore dishes or food that is the trademark of a specific area.

“For example, the Bugis community which is well known for its various customs and traditions, including the types of food that are unique and interesting in terms of taste and the way they are made.

“These include traditional foods such as Burasak, Barobok, Tumbu and many more,” he said, adding that Tawau has a multi-ethnic community all with their own variety of foods that also symbolize the traditions and customs practiced.

Speaking during a working visit to the Tawau Municipal Council on Saturday, Jafry expressed confidence that efforts to attract ‘foodies’ to Tawau will be a value-added product to the existing tourism attractions in the district.

Other than further strengthening gastronomic tourism products, community-based tourism products and activities also need to be further developed, said Jafry who pointed out that Tawau has the advantage of a distinct tourism centre, especially in terms of the richness of its natural biodiversity.

Among the interesting places that are currently being upgraded with infrastructure facilities include Batu Bersusun, Tinagat Lighthouse and several other places.

“With the diversity of tourism products, Tawau is definitely not only a stopover for tourists but has the potential to ensure that the dream of making this district a tourist destination can be achieved,” he said.

During the visit an engagement session with tour operators in Tawau was held to discuss the problems faced as well as exchange views on the direction of community-based tourism.

Also present were the ministry’s permanent secretary Datuk Mohd Yusrie Abdullah, Tawau Municipal Council president Pang Pick Lim @ Joseph and government officials. — Borneo Post