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

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

MATTA welcomes move to boost rural tourism in Sabah

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is glad that the Sabah state government is channelling funds for infrastructure development to boost rural tourism.
MATTA president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said he welcomed the announcement by Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman during the tabling of the budget on Friday (Nov 17).
He said that as arrivals of international tourists had contributed significantly to Sabah’s economy with its spin-off effect rippling across the state, RM228mill had been allocated to support the sustainability of tourism programmes.
“The state government is also stepping up efforts to develop rural tourism, with Kiulu and Kadamaian selected for pilot projects,” said Tan.
He added in a statement on Sunday that these sanctuaries are ideal for soft adventures such as hiking and trekking,
Tan also said that an additional RM15mil was allocated to encourage rural communities to be involved in providing facilities for community based tourism, such as homestay programmes, recreational centres and tourism centres with public toilets; developing, upgrading or commercialising eco-tourism products, ranging from conservation of local species to promoting native cultures, arts and handicrafts.
“Rural folks need not be bystanders and merely watch those in urban areas reap the benefits of tourism. By empowering them to participate in eco-tourism, they need not leave their ancestral land, heritage and traditions,” said Tan.
Source: The Star

Promoting Sabah to backpackers

SEMPORNA: Members of Sabah Backpackers Association (SBA) are working together to offer diversified tourism products to attract travellers to stay longer in the state.

Its president Richie Lee said backpackers would get the opportunity to know Sabah more as they tend to stay longer.

“Backpackers rely heavily on word-of-mouth, social media and the Internet to choose and decide on their travelling destinations.

“After their visit to Sabah, we want them to go back to their countries and write good reviews that will attract more people to the state,” he said at an “End in Sipadan” programme, here, recently.

The programme is organised by the Tourism and Culture Ministry. SBA is a strategic partner that helps the ministry promote dive trails in Sabah.

Lee added that each operator should offer different products to allow divers to explore more.

“People usually fly to Semporna (in Tawau) and end up diving only in Sipadan, but Sabah is blessed with three seas (South China Sea, Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea) and there are definitely more diving trails to experience in the state.

“The ‘End in Sipadan’ is a voluntourism programme designed to encourage tour operators to offer packages for divers to build artificial reef conservation,” he said.

He added that divers engaged in the work could return to check the progress of the reef.

Besides that, the association had also been engaging education institutions to be a part of their programmes.

“College students are involved in internship programmes with our members. Through this, the younger generation gets hands-on experience and learning opportunity.

“After their graduation, the association hopes to help produce quality frontliners in the tourism industry.”


Source: New Straits Times