Stories, news, update from KePKAS

Call for prayer rooms at the tourism spots

Beaufort: Tourism industry players in the State who have yet to receive the halal certificate from the Malaysia Islamic Development Department (Jakim) have been urged to do so immediately.

State Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Kamarlin Ombi said it was to attract more Muslim tourists from countries such as the Middle East and China to come to Sabah.

He said they also found that the presence of the group is relatively low compared to other states, particularly neighbouring countries that have already actively launched their Halal Tourism Industry.

“The move is aimed at strengthening the confidence of Muslim tourists who are very conscious especially in terms of food and beverage preparation.

“Prayer rooms are also lacking, especially in tourist areas such as beaches and islands in Sabah.

“Therefore, any tour operator, hotels and restaurants should provide this need and most importantly get the halal certificate from Jakim which is well-recognised globally,” he said when officiating the Majlis Ramah Mesra Bersama Pengusaha Pelancongan Tempatan at Kampung Weston, here, Sunday.

Kamarlin who is Lumadan Assemblyman said Sabah recorded a total of 4.7 million domestic and international tourists last year – the highest compared to previous years, contributing RM7 billion and becoming the major economic contributor to the State.

He said local tourism operators should, therefore, take the opportunity to implement proactive steps to expand their business.

“Among things one can do include upgrading their tourism premises or conduct active collaboration with tour operators and most importantly, to specialise in the field of Information Technology.

“This is important especially in this technology age where all business aspects be it marketing or promotions is done online. This has also been implemented widely in many countries especially China,” he said. – Iskandar Dzulkifli

Source: Daily Express

Lahad Datu gets a new main bus terminal

Lahad Datu: The setting up of the bus terminal at First Palm City Centre (FPCC) will further enhance the district’s transportation system and public amenities.

Stte Local Government and Housing Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Mohd Nor said the development of the bus terminal will be imperative in reducing the travelling time for the local community within the town or even across Sabah.

“In the future, the new bus terminal will be able to ease connectivity between Lahad Datu and other places in Sabah as it will cater for buses not only in town but also for buses plying long distances,” he said at the groundbreaking ceremony for the bus terminal, Thursday.

He said over time, the improved connectivity will bring more crowd from neighbouring towns to stay or work here.

“The bus terminal will be a milestone development for Lahad Datu and I believe this will be much appreciated by the local residents,” he said.

According to Hajiji, Lahad Datu’s economic activities have been recovering since the invasion incident in 2013 with the number of tourists visiting Lahad Datu increasing following the now-amplified security and safety system.

He said Lahad Datu holds many promising prospects and will be another area that is worth looking at after Kota Kinabalu.

“The growth of the Lahad Datu property market is encouraging. Lahad Datu with more than 300,000 residents boasts a ready market and a growing population,” said Hajiji, adding that Lahad Datu will be key for more developments in future.

Therefore, he urged more private companies to take similar route as Titijaya Land to invest in Lahad Datu to further make Lahad Datu an attractive destination, not only for tourism but also for business dealings.

He said the state government is always willing to assist developers to embark on property developments in Sabah.

Hajiji also praised the efforts undertaken by Titijaya in building the FPCC that will inevitably catalyse domestic economic activities and benefit the community.

Meanwhile, Titijaya Managing Director, Tan Sri Lim Soon Peng said FPCC is situated on 58.8 acres which comprises commercial shops, serviced apartments, office tower and others, including the bus terminal.

Lim said Titijaya is confident that the construction of FPCC and bus terminal in Lahad Datu will bring the town to a whole new level, especially in the transportation sector and public amenities.

He added that the bus terminal that costs about RM3 million will be able to accommodate 19 buses and 17 taxis and it will be handed to the government upon completion, which is expected to be within this year.

During the ceremony, Hajiji also officiated the opening of the sales gallery of FPCC.

Source: Daily Express

Ranau best paragliding spot

Ranau: The district has the potential to become a hub for aerial sport tourism due to having a paragliding flight platform which is sought after in this sport in terms of topography, the quantity of wind and the height when compared to other paragliding sites across Malaysia.

Malaysian Sport Aviation Federation (MSAF) President, Capt. Mohd Arif Ibrahim, said paragliding is an event that is not well known in Malaysia but popular in other countries such as in Europe and neighbouring countries such as Indonesia and Thailand.

“Looking at the gliding site in Ranau, is like heaven to fans and players of the sport in Malaysia because only in Ranau can a paraglider glide in the air every day, except when the weather is rainy,” he said.

With the advantages of terrain in the beautiful mountains and being constantly windy makes Ranau a favourite pick for the paragliding league that was recently organised, namely the 2017 SABAH RANPACX ACCURACY and XC tournament.

The tournament started in Ranau, and would be followed by Kuala Kubu Baru, Selangor (28-30 April), Kota Putera Terengganu (12-16 May), Jugra, Selangor (28-30 July), Kuala Kubu Baru, Selangor (26 to 27 August ), Pedas, Negeri Sembilan (16-17 September) and ends at Gunung Jerai, Kedah (19-21 October).

The paragliding league is held as a way to select national athletes to represent the country to compete in the Asian Games next year.

Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datu Rosmadi Datu Sulai, said when speaking at the closing ceremony of the tournament, said the paragliding site in Ranau had become part of the tourism product in Ranau, thus indirectly increase the state’s as well as district’s income sources.

He promised to help develop the Ranau Paragliding site in terms of infrastructure through the Tourism Ministry since paragliding has become a branch of the many tourism products in Sabah.

He added that the Ministry together with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment will support the sport until it becomes a contributor to the national economy through sports tourism.

Meanwhile, Nadia Wafa, aged 28 a paragliding athlete who hails from Selangor chose to practice in Ranau for a month before the next match in Kuala Kubu Baru, Selangor.

She decided to come to Ranau as the training ground due to the uniqueness of the mountain winds in the area, especially in the Ranau Sports Complex paragliding site, that is always blowing enables her to glide in the air every day, and this gives her an edge to enhance her skills.

“Paragliding is a world-class safe sport if we fully understand and follow the rules of the sport.

Anyone can fly, and this sport is definitely different from other sports because we can fly anywhere and we can see the breathtaking extent of this world through the air and it’s fun,” she said. – Clarence G Dol

Source: Daily Express

Kiulu landmark, tourist pass launched

KIULU: The Kiulu Tourism Association has introduced the Kiulu Tourist Pass, which aims to promote Kiulu Town as one of the leading tourism hubs in Sabah.

Sabah Tourism Board (STB) chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai explained that the pass, which was initiated with the help of STB, will offer various benefits to its holders.

Joniston said that the pass aims to attract both national and international tourists to visit Kiulu.

“The pass will be valid for two years and it will enable its holders to enjoy attractive prices to the various destinations in Kiulu,” he said .

Joniston, who is also Kiulu assemblyman, spoke at a press conference at the launching ceremony of the Selamat Datang ke Kiulu (Welcome to Kiulu) landmark and the tourist pass.

He said that the introduction of these new additions came at a perfect time as Kiulu is just about to launch its Visit Kiulu Month 2017.

It will be held from April 1 to 30 and aims to boost the economic growth of Kiulu.

The five-week programme will feature special events each week, namely Moginikan Perasmian Rumah Kiulu, 1st Kiulu Tagal Fishing Challenge, Mini Bamboo Carnival, Mini Cultural Fiesta and Tamu Besar Gulu-Gulu.

Joniston further mentioned that in May, Kadamaian Town will take a similar route as it will be having its own Visit Kadamaian Month 2017. This pattern will be continued by the other districts across Sabah.

Commenting on the landmark, Joniston said that it will serve as one of the factors that will put Kiulu on track to tourism stardom.

“Kiulu now has numerous tourism attractions and its popularity is constantly growing. It is well known for its mule system and its various types of river life-forms such as Pelian fish,” he added.

Joniston had also expressed his gratitude towards Warisan Harta Sdn Bhd and Common Tower Technologies Sdn Bhd for  their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts to build the landmark.

He disclosed that he will also be working with the two companies to add another landmark, which is the Pelian fish.

Also present in the event were Warisan Harta chief executive director Datuk Abu Bakar @ Wahab Abas and Common Tower Technologies chief executive director Dr Mahadi Harris Murshidi.

For further information, interested guests may contact Dr Rosalyn Gelenu, the organizing chairman of the event at 014-871 2853.

Source: Borneo Post

Direct Bangkok-KK flight

Kota Kinabalu: Thai Airways together with its subsidiary Thai Smiles launched its inaugural direct flight from Bangkok to Kota Kinabalu on March 26.

Thai Airways Assistant Executive Vice President, Commercial, Wiwat Piyawiroj, said the cooperation in the opening of the Bangkok- Kota Kinabalu route between Thai Airways and Thai Smiles marked a milestone in showcasing the business model between the parent company and its affiliate.

“By providing this service, Thai Airways will be the distributor and marketer for the distribution of tickets and Thai Smiles will be the flight operator.

“This type of business will take place on several international routes that are due to launch this year.

And we strongly believe that this cooperation will bring comfort to passengers travelling to various cities.

In particular, the direct Kota Kinabalu route will bring about sustainable and profitable growth for both airlines.”

Acting CEO of Thai Smiles, Captain Woranate Laprabang, revealed that Thai Smiles, a subsidiary of Thai Airways, the national carrier, was very proud to open the new route to Kota Kinabalu.

“It is acclaimed to be a major tourist destination of Asean region in the extent of the exuberance of nature.

The ticket will be sold by Thai Airways while the flight will be operated by Thai Smiles.

“The opening of this new route to Kota Kinabalu is considered one of the strategic priorities for us in the Asean region. Thai Airways and Thai Smiles will expand growth in order to develop more international network of routes extensively.

“Furthermore, we are committed to increasing our customers’ choice to have a chance to travel to new destinations.

Of course, we are confident that our reputation for excellent service will make both airlines the market leader in the near future.”

The Bangkok-Kota Kinabalu flight is open daily. There are two types of services including “Premium Economy Class” or “Smile PLUS Class” and “Smile Class” are offered for more comfortable space.

Passengers in both classes will receive a baggage allowance up to 30 kilograms and 20 kilograms, respectively.

For passengers traveling in the Premium Economy Class, priority will be given to their luggage.

The Airbus A320-200 airliner equipped with full facilities is in service for passengers to enjoy a superior flight experience. Foods and drinks are specially selected for the passengers. In addition, for adventurous passengers with lots of baggage, the airline also allows 10 kg weight from normal weight for climbing equipment and diving equipment.

Those interested can obtain a ticket at a starting price of 3,435 baht (RM440+) per trip (all inclusive) and earn points with Royal Orchid Plus.

Tourism Malaysia’s Thailand office Director Abdul Harris Hardy said this year Tourism Malaysia aims to attract 1.75 million Thai tourists to experience Malaysia.

From January to October 2016, Malaysia welcomed 1.47 million Thai tourists, an increase of 34.4 per cent from 1.09 million in 2015.

The number of Thai tourists makes up the highest total number of tourists visiting Malaysia.

“The potential of Kota Kinabalu tourism along with comfortable journey by Thai Airways and Thai Smiles will certainly increase the number of tourists from Thailand to Sabah.”

Sabah Tourism Board Chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai congratulated Thai Airways and Thai Smiles for their expansion of network and the choice of Kota Kinabalu as the second Malaysian destination after Penang.

“This is a timely and welcome addition to our network of international flights into Kota Kinabalu International Airport. Opening up the Thai market is important for Sabah – we look forward to receiving young Thai nationals who love adventure, diving and the variety of food we have to offer, as well as the expats who are looking for new family destinations.

“Our natural attractions such as Danum Valley and Maliau Basin are ideal for long haul travellers from Europe.

Bangkok is a popular destination for Malaysians, many have been eagerly waiting for this flight to commence,” said Joniston.

Source: Daily Express