SANDAKAN: Secretary General of the Tourism Ministry, Dato’ Dr. Ong Hong Beng and his officers from the Ministry’s development division have visited several tourism projects in Sandakan. The purpose of the visit was to monitor the progress of tourism projects carried out under the 10th Malaysia Plan (1st Rolling Plan) for 2011 and 2012.
Most of the projects are located at Sepilok, Which is one of the most well known tourist spots in Sandakan. There are four on-going projects under federal funding costing RM12.54 million. They comprise the upgrading work on facilities at the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, the Sun Bear Conservation Project and the Heritage Forest Park at the Rainforest Discovery Centre.
In conjunction with the visit, State Forestry Director Datuk Sam Mannan announced that the Mangrove Discovery Centre (MDC) at Sepilok Laut was successfully upgraded and completed on Jan 12 this year at a cost of Rm1.04 million. The site is only 5.5 km away by jungle trail from the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre.
“The centre definitely will create a unique and magnificent experience for visitors to Sabah’s natural mangrove habitat by walking along the 700 m of Belian boardwalk connecting the existing information centre to the camping site, which is also equipped with resting areas, bridges and a multipurpose tower,” he said.
The Forestry Department plays an important role in the operation and maintenance of this centre, which is also in line with Sustainable Forest Management principles.
With support from the Federal Government, the Ministry of Tourism is confident that the number of visitors to Sandakan will increase in the coming years and this will benefit the state and the local economy.