News & Updates

Sabah set to become champion of marine tourism in Malaysia

KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit yesterday expressed confidence that Sabah would emerge as the champion of Marine Tourism in the country soon.

He said this was evident from the increasing number of tourist arrivals in the state where, last year alone, a total of 2.88 million tourist came to visit Sabah, a marked increase of 1.1 per cent from year 2011 (2.84 million tourist).

He said last year’s state tourism calendar showed 18 cruise ships with 12,707 passengers had come to Kota Kinabalu Port.

“Also, we have 131 international flights with 19,294 seats and 660 domestic flights with 85,976 seats a week having landed at Sabah airports.

“That is good for tourism sector in Sabah. Sabah must be proud to have a beautiful beach, high mountain, amazing world-class islands, various ethnic groups, food and culture.

“These make Sabah a unique state compared to the other states in Malaysia,” he said in his speech in conjunction with 13th City Day Anniversary Celebration at Jesselton Point, near here.

Also present was the Mayor of Kota Kinabalu City, Datuk Abidin Madingkir.

Dawos said Kota Kinabalu, with a suitable location and geography, had good opportunity to be one of the stop-over destinations for Cruise ships in Asia.

“Tourists love our numerous towns by the seaside. Of all the places I went to, Kota Kinabalu is one of the best and fantastic cities to enjoy the scenic sunset,” he said.

“With the natural silhouette of beautiful islands in the background, we are here today at Jesselton Point (one of the popular leisure spots among the locals) to witness how such a wonderful event like KK City Day Sunset Sea Parade can be done here with Kota Kinabalu’s stunning view of the beautiful South China Sea,” he said.

In this respect, Dawos underlined the need for the people, particularly city dwellers, to play their part in keeping
Kota Kinabalu City clean and free from rubbish. — Bernama

Source : Borneo Post


Sabah targets 3m tourists this year

KOTA KINABALU:   SABAH is banking on its natural beauty to continue attracting tourists, with authorities targeting three million arrivals this year.

Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit expressed confidence that the target could be achieved as the state had recorded 2.88 million tourist arrivals last year.

The figure was a 1.1 per cent increase from the previous year.

He said the figures were obtained through 131 international flights, 660 domestic flights as well as 18 cruise ships with 12,707 passengers that came to Kota Kinabalu Port last year.

“Sabah is unique with beautiful beaches, world-class islands, our landmark mountain and diverse communities.

“I am sure we can hit the three-million tourist-arrival mark this year if we continue with our marketing and also by conserving the natural attractions in Sabah,” he said after launching the Kota Kinabalu City Sunset Sea Parade yesterday.

The event, held at Jesselton Point here, was in conjunction with the 13th Kota Kinabalu City Day anniversary that fell on Feb 2.

Dawos added that it was about time Sabah moved towards becoming a champion of marine tourism in the country.

He said Kota Kinabalu should leverage on opportunities of becoming a stopover destination for cruise ships in Asia.

Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir said Kota Kinabalu City Hall’s priority was to support the Sabah government’s goal of maintaining the tourism industry as the state’s main revenue earner.

He said City Hall would increase efforts to carry out the 5K (cleanliness, beautification, safety, orderliness and harmony) agenda and continue the anti-litter bug campaign and work to reduce the use of plastic bags.

Source : New Straits Times


World paragliding meet may be held twice this year

Kota Kinabalu: The Paragliding World Cup Accuracy Challenge (PGWAC) would likely be held twice this year, in March and September, according to a source familiar with the event.

The PGWAC, noted as a world-class event usually held in September, may see pilots take off from one of the peaks on Mount Kinabalu in March.

Since the event began years ago, pilots usually launch from the tip.

“It is a sort of climax towards the PGWAC. It is also like a tradition for the pilots,” said Arrif Ibrahim, when met in 2011.

However, organisers have yet to confirm the landing point for the pilot’s descent, the source said, after attending the PGWAC meeting, on Monday.

It is also not clear whether the organisers – Sabah Tourism Board – are introducing the event as part of their plan to insert a category 1, expert level, category to the Sabah PGWAC.

This will open the event to a wider range of world ranking pilots, who are battling to come out as the world’s best within the PGWAC circuit.

Sabah Tourism Board has been eyeing for the category I for sometime, which was revealed by its Chairman, Datuk Tengku Adlin, during the 2011 PGWAC.

Although, Adlin, who is also the State paragliding association president, could not confirm the launching pad at the time, clearly it was the board’s intention to further expand the event.

The matter is also inline with Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun, who had expressed his upgrade plans for the annual flying event.

He has benchmarked the Climbathon’s success, for the PGWAC to match.

Sabah has only been hosting a category II, all this years from Kokol Hill and has been generating interest from pilots from Serbia, Montenegro, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines and others.

About 200 pilots are seen participating in the event each year and interests are growing towards Sabah, especially from pilots from South East Asia.

The PGWAC will also be held in September, however, from a new location, replacing Kokol Hill, the source said.

“All matters will likely be confirmed in the next meeting,” he said.

RUBBISH-FREE: Firm aims to set record by cleaning up Sabah dive sites

KOTA KINABALU: THE sight of rubbish at tourist spots in Sabah could turn potential tourists away, said state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

The state’s rich bio-diversity and ecosystem would be useless if it was polluted by rubbish, he said at the launch of a voluntary underwater clean-up project by Astro recently.

Masidi said locals had a role to play when it came to maintaining a clean environment, including the sea.

He lauded the effort taken by Astro through its Astro Kasih Beautiful Malaysia project, which will see divers take part in a 168-hour underwater clean-up at 14 dive sites, at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park from April 6 to 13.

“Pollution, such as rubbish, has reached an alarming level in Sabah. There have been cases where tourists did not want to come here because of it. It is an embarrassment, not only to Sabah, but also to the country.”

Present were Astro chief financial officer Ahmad Fuad Kenali, its community affairs vice-president David Yap and Sabah Journalists Association president and New Straits Times Sabah and Sarawak regional editor Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.

Astro Kasih hopes to create an awareness of marine conservation by aiming to set a Guinness World Record for the longest underwater clean-up at the park.

“We value the importance of preserving our environmental heritage. It is encouraging to see an organisation like Astro taking an active role in creating a beautiful Malaysia, especially in Sabah.

“Marine debris is our concern as it damages corals and kills marine life. Astro is here to help us, but Sabah folk must also make an effort.”

So far, Astro has received more than 200 registrations for the record attempt.

Among those volunteering are Miss Earth Sabah participants.

Yap said priority would be given to Sabah folk to take part in the clean-up in accordance with the terms and conditions attached to the project.

“For non-divers, we will have Astro Kasih’s Marine Conservation Day on April 13 where there will be lots of fun and learning activities.”

Snorkelling and scuba diving lessons would be also provided for the underprivileged, he added.

In 2011, the programme helped to transplant 777 corals in Tun Sakaran Marine Park, off Semporna, earning a place in the Malaysia Book of Records.

Source : New Straits Times


Sabah records RM5.2bil in tourism receipts

KOTA KINABALU: Tourism remains one of Sabah’s major income earners with the industry generating about RM5.2bil last year.

The revenue was derived from the 2.9 million tourists who came last year, representing a 1.1% increase from 2011, state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun  said.

He said international arrivals recorded an increase of 11% with notable growth in visitors from China and Hong Kong (44%) as well as South Korea (26%).

Masidi said the state also re­­corded a 40% rise in the number of visitors from Britain and Ire­­­land, apart from other European nations.

“This is an indication of confidence towards long-haul travel and a strong focus on nature-based tourism, which is Sabah’s forte,” he noted.

He said domestic tourists re­­mained the main contributor as they constituted 67% of total arrivals to Sabah last year.

However, this was a decrease of 3.2% compared with 2011 – mainly due to a reduction in domestic seat capacity from Sarawak and the peninsula.

“For the first time in 14 years, domestic arrivals were affected due to less competitive air fares offered to the domestic outbound market as well as opening of new routes by low-cost carriers to ot­­her regional destinations,” Masidi said.

Source : The Star