- Wartawan Nabalu News
Penampang Tourism Association proposes turning Babagon dam into tourist hotspot
12 March 2023
By Wartawan Nabalu News
PENAMPANG: In a bid to revitalize the tourism sector in Penampang, the Penampang Tourism Association (PTA) has proposed a project that could potentially create over 100 job opportunities for the Kota Kinabalu and Penampang people.
The proposal is to turn the Babagon dam into a recreational sports activities center, which could attract both domestic and international tourists.
According to President Benjamin Golimbi, the proposed project would create a business spin-off for local businesses, such as hotels, homestays, Airbnb, food and beverage, handicraft, cultural and transportation, among others.
The ambitious project is estimated to cost more than RM10 million.
The idea to turn the dam into "Babagon Lake Park" has been conveyed to Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative Datuk Ewon Benedick, who is also Penampang Member of Parliament.
Benjamin stated that the Minister fully supports the idea as many dams around the world are also developed into tourism attractions.
“The Minister fully supports the idea as many dams around the world are also developed into tourism attraction. I think this project will give a tremendous benefit to the Penampang folks if approved,” he said after a courtesy visit to Ewon, yesterday.
The proposed concept of dual usage – drinking water and recreation – is already very common worldwide, said Benjamin, and turning the Babagon dam into Malaysia's first international standard recreation lake could be a game-changer for the dull tourism sector of the district.
Benjamin revealed that the plan is to turn Babagon dam into a Taman Tun Fuad Bukit Padang version, by bringing to the lake a range of new exciting, green, healthy and safe recreational activities.
The recreational activities proposed for the Babagon dam include hiking, stand-up paddling, e-foiling (electric powered), and zip-lining, which could attract a wide range of visitors such as fitness buffs, schools outdoor activities, and the organizations of MICE, team building, and government events.
Benjamin expressed confidence that the project is viable to be implemented as there are already some examples of existing recreation lakes to imitate such as Putrajaya Lake; Bedok Lake, Singapore; Lake of Pierre-Percee, France; Durian Tunggal Lake, Melaka; and Bedu Lake, Kedah.
“As such, the Penampang Tourism Association hopes the government will fully tap the huge prospect of Babagon dam to transform it into a major tourism attraction in Sabah and Malaysia in general,” he said.
Additionally, Benjamin expressed his appreciation to Ewon for allocating RM20,000 for the association to carry out its calendar events for this year.
According to Benjamin, the association requires atleast RM200,000 to execute their diverse tourism programs and promotional initiatives aimed at revitalising the industry that was severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic over the last three years.
Various programs have been lined up every month to continue the rejuvenation efforts of the tourism industry in Penampang.
Among the programs are Mini Tamu Monsopiad (January to December); HSE Workshop (February); Padas Farmstay Study Trip (March); Tagal Festival (April); Miss Tourism Penampang (May); Penampang Bird Race (July); Penampang Le Tour (August); Penampang Treasure Hunt (September); Fishing Competition cum Cleaning Campaign for Moyog River (September); Tapai Fest and Best Tapai Competition (October); Mr. Rainforest Penampang (November); and Penampang Marathon (December).