Posts

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

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

Kiulu tourist arrivals up sharply

KOTA KINABALU: Promoting the uniqueness of Kiulu with the objective to make it a prime ecotourism destination has been bearing fruit so far, according to Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.

Tourist arrivals to Kiulu came up to 27,000 last year and their numbers surged to nearly 40,000 between January and September this year alone, he told reporters in a press conference for the third Kiulu Adventure Challenge (KAC), yesterday.

“What we want to highlight and promote through the KAC is the uniqueness that Kiulu has to offer.

“The run itself is unique, because it does not only combine cycling and running, but rafting as well.

“We also made sure to include family involvement, with the introduction of a 5km Family Fun Run this year, in addition to the existing Kiulu Mini Carnival,” he added.

Joniston said the KAC was organised as one of the many efforts to promote rural tourism and empower the local community by creating tourism and business opportunities in Sabah.

“Kiulu locals are heavily involved in organising the KAC because we want them to really be able to feel the benefits of expanding ecotourism opportunities in their hometown.

“We don’t want Sabah to be known only for our Mount Kinabalu. We want Sabah to also be associated with richness in traditions and culture from its interior parts,” he added.

Earlier, KAC race director Auther J Kimon said flag-off would be at 6.30am on December 3, at Rumah Tradisi Kiulu.

The route includes 13 kilometres of running and 30 kilometres of cycling along the hilly earth trails passing through villages and hanging bridges, alongside white-water rafting along the scenic Kiulu River.

“The first five kilometres of the run will be on asphalt road while the second part will be on gravel. It’s all undulating surfaces so that’s why we call it a challenge.

“There are even some parts of the route where participants will have to carry their bicycles, hence the term ‘mini challenge,’” said Auther, adding that the highest peak of the route reaches up to 140 metres.

He also said each checkpoint is complete with markers and crew, and that the route was chosen due to its low risk and convenience for emergency evacuation, which provides accessibility to injured participants.

The Kiulu Mini Carnival will also be held on the same day in Kiulu town, featuring stalls operated by locals selling authentic local food and handicrafts.

Other activities include traditional games, catch-a-duck competition, stone painting, coconut bowling and tug-of-war.

Approximately 430 adventure enthusiasts have registered for the challenge so far, while interested parties can still register till November 25.

Those interested can submit registration at the Kiulu Tourism Association office in Tamparuli Point, Chanteek Borneo in Tamparuli, KLK Ponohuon Lodge in Kiulu, Riverbug office in Wisma Sabah here or through WhatsApp at 017-7698862 (Suzie).

 

Source: Borneo Post

‘Diving all year round in Sabah’

SEMPORNA: THE year-long “End in Sipadan” campaign organised by the Tourism and Culture Ministry will not only promote Sabah’s diving trails, but also its local dive operators, said the ministry’s state director, Ag Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar.

“The ‘End in Sipadan’ campaign, held in collaboration with Sabah Backpackers Association, began in April and has reached its pinnacle here in Sipadan.

“Throughout the journey, we saw our local dive operators doing a great job not just for the tourism industry, but also for the conservation of our reefs,” he said during a press conference in conjunction with the closing of the campaign here recently.

He said dive operators in Mari Mari Sepanggar island here and Bum Bum Island in Semporna engaged with avid divers to build artificial reefs within respective house reefs.

“Before the campaign, the heaps of rubbish in Sepanggar island could reach an average man’s shoulder. But, dive operators have cleared the garbage and transformed the island into a diving centre.”

Ag Ahmad said dive operator Blue Fin Dive and Surf from Kudat built a community-based homestay, while ND Divers from Bum Bum island provided jobs opportunities to the locals.

As for Kudat-based Pirate Divers, its founder, Glen Hapirullah, sketched several hundred underwater maps in Malaysia, including 44 diving sites in Lahad Datu.

Ag Ahmad said diver Abdul Razak Ismail, 33, from Semporna, took underwater videos to promote the campaign, adding that one of his videos gained 14,000 views in three months.

The campaign, he said, had also helped 15 media personnel obtain diving licences to better promote the state’s diving trails.

Present at the press conference were the ministry’s Pahang director, Datuk Idrus Yahya, and Sabah Backpackers Association president Richie Lee.

“The ‘End in Sipadan’ pro-gramme is the continuation of the ministry’s ‘Start in Tioman’ campaign in Pahang, which began in 2010 and offered diving course to media personnel,” said Idrus.

He said the programme in Tioman aimed to encourage people to take up diving.

“People will not only spend money on diving, but also on activities that we have created for them before they board a plane home.

“Besides that, the programme made people appreciate nature more because once the marine ecosystem is destroyed, divers will not be able to enjoy underwater activities anymore.”

Volunteer Datin Chan Goek Kooi, from Johor, said she fully supported the campaign in Bum Bum island and in Sipadan.

“As a dive operator, it is important for me to explore dive sites before promoting them to my clients.

 

Source: New Straits Times

Rejuvenating Kiulu nature trekking

KIULU: THE Kiulu district has come up with what is believed to be the first dedicated trekking trails spanning 45km from Tamparuli, here, to the hilly Pekan Nabalu.

It offers the “Riverside Lung Washing Trekking Trails”, which live up to its reputation as a destination for adventure enthusiasts.

The term “lung washing” has a scientific explanation associated with the act of taking a break in nature.

Such an experience, away from city life distractions, is said to boost the immune system and help rejuvenate the body.

Kiulu assemblyman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, who is the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) chairman, launched the trails at Kampung Lubok, here, recently.

He said the trails passed through several villages.

Trekkers were recommended to spend three to four days there. They could start their journey from either Pekan Nabalu or the Tamparuli town, which is about an hour’s drive from Kota Ki-
nabalu. Guides will be assigned to help them and they can spend their nights in community-managed base camps or village homestays.

The routes were categorised from “easy” to “challenging” and trekkers could follow well-marked trails over undulating, small uphill sections.

“Trekkers would be able to explore the Borneo lowland forest, learn basic jungle survival skills from the natives, identify wild indigenous medicinal plants as well as edible plants, and they can experience the culture and hospitality of the local people and see unique species of flora and fauna in the Kiulu forest.

“Kiulu offers you an experience of a lifetime by taking you through one of the loveliest and untouched parts of Sabah,” said Joniston.

Kiulu Tourism Association (KTA) president Dr Edmon Guntis added that trekkers could also expect to cross numerous suspension bridges, rivers and tri-butaries.

“You can have local expert guides who can share their knowledge of the jungle, and at the same time, show you how to use the natural resources from the forest to your advantage
in order to survive,” said Dr Edmon.

The Tourism and Culture Ministry (Motac) Sabah office director Awang Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar said the move to introduce the trekking trails was timely as the Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had described Kiulu as a model for rural tourism development in Ma-laysia.

A few years ago, Nazri visited Kiulu’s tourist attractions and had a first-hand experience of white-water rafting along the Kiulu river, as well as trying out Sabah’s longest zip line at Kampung Rangalau Lama.

Ahmad Zaki said locals would also benefit from this by giving the services required by trek-kers.

“Besides offering services as guides, villagers along the trekking trails could also offer homestay services or open up stalls offering authenic local delicacies and handicrafts, among others,” he said.

 

Source: New Straits Times