News & Updates

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry is ready to compete with neighbouring countries in offering world-class medical tourism products.

Its minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the state has been developing its medical tourism sector since last year, which has brought it up to par with other countries.

“The state capital is ready to receive international (patients seeking medical treatment at the best) private hospitals, such as Gleneagles, KPJ Sabah, KPJ Damai and the Jesselton Medical Centre.

“The Sabah Tourism Board is also working closely with the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, which is an initiative by the Health Ministry, to facilitate strategic development on the healthcare travel industry in Malaysia,” he said when winding up his speech at the 14th state assembly sitting here.

Masidi added that the Sabah Tourism Board has also built connections with several agents in Indonesia to handle medical tourism promotion activities.

“The air connectivity between Tarakan (in Indonesia) and Tawau (in Sabah, for example, will) enable those private hospitals to receive Indonesian (patients).

“(Meanwhile), the Ministry has also (consulted) with several airline companies to introduce direct flights from Balikpapan and Pontianak (in Indonesia) to Kota Kinabalu,” he said.

As for tourism receipts, Masidi said that the federal government collected revenue of RM6.396 billion until last month, including from Sabah.

 

Source: New Straits Times

Tourism rakes in RM6.39 bln in first 10 months for Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: The tourism sector in Sabah raked in a revenue of RM6.396 billion in the first 10 months of 2017, says Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

He said from the revenue earned, the state government paid RM741.15 million to the federal government in the form of corporate and income tax, including Goods and Services Tax, while another RM2.915 billion was injected into the state economy.

He said the remainder comprised company profits (25 per cent) and foreign remittance (20 per cent).

“Although the tourism sector does not contribute directly to the state government, it is still an important sector as it has huge impact on the state economy via spillover effects like employment opportunities for locals in the services sector,” Masidi said in the ministry’s winding-up speech at the state assembly here yesterday.

Masidi said in order to enhance the tourism sector, the ministry had allocated RM12 million next year to upgrade tourism facilities at resorts in rural areas. — Bernama

 

Source: Borneo Post

Ocean heroes spreading marine awareness

KOTA KINABALU: Marine conservation is important and people are encouraged to become ‘ocean heroes’. The Downbelow X Rip Curl Marine Conservation Programme 2017 held here yesterday was to reiterate and bring across the message.

It was held at a dive centre at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park near here.

This joint event between Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventure and Rip Curl Malaysia was aimed at raising awareness towards the global problem of marine debris.

Duty Manager Mohd Fauzi Mohd Sofian said that programme is a step towards educating the people about many issues related to the ocean.

“We aimed to raise awareness, educate and encourage action towards the global problem of marine debris and the importance of preserving our coral reefs.

“Downbelow and Rip Curl Malaysia hope to motivate people to become ocean heroes in protecting our ocean,” he said to New Sabah Times yesterday.

About 100 local and international participants took part and acquired some tips on why everyone must fight the good fight to save the ocean environment.

Some of them were marine science students from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), staffers from Hyatt Regency Kinabalu and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Kota Kinabalu (SPCA).

Beach cleaning and coral planting were also held as part of the day’s activities. About 400 corals were planted onto 200 cement blocks.

Meanwhile, Managing Director and PADI Platinum Course Director, Richard Swan, conducted the coral reef conservation awareness presentation. They learnt about coral, their importance to the environment, the threats it face and what public should or should not do as a diver, snorkeler or non-swimmer.

Speaking to the public about the importance of preserving coral reefs, Richard highlighted that coral is the life of the ocean and people should realise that coral help in maintaining our marine ecosystem and beach.

“We hope that people will know about the importance of care and preserve our precious coral reefs. “We play our roles as a part of living things by sharing our harmonious with marine.”

Participant Chrizz Diver, 31, shared his experiences in marine conservation programme saying that many people are unaware the negative impact of dumping rubbish into the sea.

“As humans living together with other inhabitants on this earth, we can contribute by recycling plastic or reducing the usage of plastics in our daily life while maintaining the cleanliness or our beaches and oceans.

“One time, I saw a turtle was badly injured from eating plastic, and it shows how badly the effect of throwing rubbish into the sea can do to the marine life… it kills them.”

The one-day programme was also joined and supported by local celebrities like Daphne Iking, MMA Fighter AJ “Pyro” Mansor and MMA Fighter Ann “Athena” Osman.

Downbelow Marine and Wildlife Adventures were doing their part to lead the public towards conservation. They have been education providers locally and internationally for the past 15 years.

The companies pledged commitment to responsible tourism and provide courses that foster appreciation, awareness and conservation of our environment of local people.

 

Source: New Sabah Times

17 mln turtle hatchlings released to sea – Masidi

KOTA KINABALU: The RM1 million allocation for turtle conservation under the State Budget 2018 reflects the State Government’s seriousness in conservation efforts, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun.Masidi said an estimated 17 million turtle hatchlings have been released to the sea since the government became involved in turtle conservation.

He said this at a press conference after witnessing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) and Sabah Parks Board of Trustees yesterday.

Masidi said the signing of the MoU will enable Sabah Parks to receive continuous guidance in its publications from Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, besides enhancing the cooperation between the two bodies in terms of the quality and types of books produced.

He said the cooperation between DBP and Sabah Parks have been established since 2004. To date, eight books authored by Sabah Parks staff have been published under the guidance of DBP.

The two bodies are also in the process of producing an encyclopedia on Sabah Parks that will enlighten readers on the biodiversity, conservation efforts and uniqueness in all the parks.

Masidi hoped that the natural treasures under Sabah Parks could be shared with Malaysians and even the international community through the publication of such books.

He said Sabah Parks was among the most successful government agencies not only in book publications, but also in terms of efforts to expand its activities on land and sea.

Sabah Parks is actively expanding the scope of marine parks to be gazetted, the latest being the Tun Mustapha Park in Kudat which is the largest marine park in Malaysia with an area close to one million hectares.

To date, Masidi said seven percent of the seas in Sabah, equivalent to two million hectares, have been gazetted as marine parks.

“Our goal is to increase (marine parks) to 10 percent as recommended by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN),” Masidi said.

All these efforts were undertaken to achieve balance in progress and environmental conservation, he explained.

“This is clearly reflected in the (State) Budget 2018 by the Chief Minister, that we want conservation efforts and physical development to be carried out in parallel. Meaning to say that we can be a progressive state but also maintains the beauty and wonder of the environment in Sabah,” Masidi said.

The MoU was signed between Sabah Parks Board of Trustees chairman Datuk Seri Dr Tengku Zainal Adlin Bin Tengku Mahamood and DBP deputy director-general (policy) Datuk Haji Abang Sallehuddin bin Abg Shokeran.

Also present were Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministers Datuk Pang Yuk Ming and Datuk Kamarlin Ombi, and Sabah Parks director Dr Jamili Nais.

 

Source: Borneo Post

A new world ‘first’

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah now boasts a new global first that should appeal to extreme sports and other enthusiasts – Summit Pluton on Mt Kinabalu is the highest paragliding launching base at 13,000 feet above mean sea level.

“The new eco-tourism product will facilitate tourists who cannot stay longer in Sabah and could not make the usual climb,” said Sabah Parks Chairman Tengku Datuk Ser Dr Zainal Adlin Tengku Mahamood, at the 1Voluntourism: Mount Kinabalu programme.

“They can use the helicopter service and land at the Summit Pluton. Then glide down to the Kundasang tamu ground which will take about an hour, depending on the wind condition.”

He added, Kundasang and Ranau are suitable for air sports such as microlite and hot air balloon, thanks to its environment and wind condition.

“Throughout last year, some 14,000 tourists took part in paragliding activities in Ranau and we expect the figure to increase this year,” he said.

Six participants glided from the mountain in the 1Voluntarism: Mount Kinabalu programme organised by the State Tourism and Culture Ministry and Motac Sabah with the cooperation of Sabah Parks.

Motac Sabah Director Ag Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar hoped the introduction of tourism products with niche market can promote Sabah as an eco-tourism destination, in line with the Ministry’s effort to promote ‘lung washing’ tourism.

He also urged visitors to the State to use the #SayangMalaysia hashtag on each photos posted on their social media, to support the campaign to make Sabah a well-known tourism destination in the world.

 

Source: Daily Express