CNY Carnival at Padang Merdeka Feb 10-12

Kota Kinabalu: The Chinese New Year Carnival 2018 will be held from Feb 10 to 12 at Padang Merdeka here.

It is jointly organised by City Hall and the Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS), with the State Government as sponsor and contributions from many donors.

The carnival’s organising committee held a meeting chaired by Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai recently.

Also present were FCAS President Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima (Dr) TC Goh and Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister, Datuk Edward Yong, who is in charge of City Hall.

According to Yong, the organising committee would be inviting the Chief Minister to launch the event on Feb 10.

He said among the highlights of the programme are the 24 seasons drum beating, lion dances, “Lau Sang”, cultural and singing performances, choir and others.

He said more schools will be involved this time to encourage more youngsters to participate in the carnival.

Fireworks are expected to be set off on the opening night.

There will also be a ceremony for senior citizens and children at Padang Merdeka on Feb 11, which is expected to be launched by the Chief Minister’s wife, Puan Sri Datin Seri Panglima Faridah Tussin.

A Cheongsam beauty pageant and dancing contest will be held on the second night also, he said.

The closing ceremony is expected to be graced by the Minister with Special Tasks, Datuk Seri Panglima Teo Chee Kang, which will also see the finale of the Cheongsam and dancing competitions and a fireworks display.

Visitors will also have the chance to shop for goods from the 200 stalls that will be set up throughout the carnival.

The stalls will be opened at 6pm selling goods in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration.

For the first time this year, the stalls at Padang Merdeka will be allowed to continue their business for another two days up to Feb 14 which will coincide with the yearly Chinese New Year night market.

Yong said this will give more business opportunities to small traders and hawkers and will be an added attraction for tourists visiting the city during the festive season.

Application for the stalls can be made starting Jan 9 2018 at City Hall’s Hawkers Management Counter, City Environmental Health Department at 7th floor, Centre Point Sabah.

Permit for the stalls are RM60 per lot. For more information on the stalls, call 088-244000 or 088-223437.


Source: Daily Express

Sabah needs more hotels to cater to tourists influx

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry has expressed concern over the insufficient number of hotel rooms to accommodate the growing number of tourists to the state in the future.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said as the state was enjoying encouraging numbers in tourism receipts, the state government feared its promotional efforts would an exercise in futility.

“There are limitations to promote Sabah as we do not want the tourists to pitch up tents simply because we do not have enough rooms (for them).

“If there are not enough hotels, in the future, we will definitely have a big problem. Eventually, growth will become a plateau if the state tourism’s growth does not equal the availability of hotel rooms,” he told reporters after opening a Taiwan-based cafe Camaco Gelato Concept Cafe here today.

Masidi said his ministry, through its agencies such as the Sabah Tourism Board, was striving to ensure that there were enough hotels to meet future demands.

He said the state recorded RM7.25 billion in tourism receipt in 2016 and expected last year’s (2017) numbers to hit the RM7.7 billion mark.

On the cafe, Masidi said Camaco’s decision in setting up an outlet here was a manifestation of the company’s confidence in the business climate of the state capital and its growing sophistication.

With 14 foreign airlines flying to Kota Kinabalu and 178 flights per week, of them 84 from China alone, he said it clearly showed that the growing number of flights was a manifestation of tourist confidence in city’s ability to grow. – Bernama


Source: Borneo Post

First Digital Tourism Workshop

KOTA KINABALU: The tourism industry in Sabah must fully embrace the information and communications technology if it was to modernize and effectively reach out to today’s consumers.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said that industry players can benefit from relevant training to move in tandem in terms of digital marketing and build a stronger branding for Sabah.

For this, Sabah Tourism will be organizing a Digital Tourism Workshop on January 23-24 which is open to industry players and interested business owners.

The speaker will be Damien Cook, founder and CEO of E-Tourism Frontiers who has made presentations in international forums including the World Information Summit in Tunis, the Global Experts Panel on E-Tourism, ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Börse) in Berlin as well as PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Tourism Forums. E-Tourism Frontiers has worked with South African Tourism, Indonesia Ministry of Tourism, Athens and Rhodes Tourism (Greece) to name a few, and has partnered with TripAdvisor, Facebook, YouTube, Expedia and Google.

This first ever workshop will be subsidized by Sabah Tourism Board. Early bird fee is RM500 per participant until January 12, and normal fees will be RM650. Closing date for registration is January 17.

To register, contact Francesca Lydia or call 088-232121.


Source: Borneo Post

Unique Tun Mustapha Park potential tourism game changer

KOTA KINABALU: With its unique biodiversity, the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) is a potential game changer to help boost tourism sector in Malaysia, particularly Sabah.

The 898,726.26 ha TMP area has more than 50 islands and islets located in the Kudat, Pitas and Kota Marudu districts in the northern part of Sabah.

The TMP is also home to Sabah’s third largest volume of fishery products from coral reefs, bays and open waters, and the source of livelihood to 80,000 coastal inhabitants, with great potential for eco-tourism.

The area’s unique biodiversity supports and linked habitats and is home to endangered marine animals, such as green sea turtles and dugongs.

A small community of the distinctive Palauh (pelaut) or sea gypsy people is also found inhabiting the open sea area in TMP.

A team of scientists and researchers from local universities and Non-Governmental Organizational bodies (NGOs) have recently completed a five-week (from April 15 to May 19) scientific expedition in TMP.

The findings of the research works were presented during a two-day seminar, organized by Sabah Parks, at a leading hotel in Kota Kinabalu, last month.

The expedition, organized by the Sabah Parks, was to collate information for the Park management to focus on conservation activities as well as to have better control of the Park.

Participants of the open sea and land expedition were from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), UiTM, University College Sabah Foundation (UCSF), Sabah Environmental Trust (SET), WWF Malaysia, Politeknik Sandakan and Sabah Parks.

The first scientific expedition was launched in the same area in 2012 to gather marine scientific data for the gazettement of the park.

TMP was gazetted on May 19, 2016 under the Parks Enactment 1984 with an area of 898,726.76 ha, covering only the sea area.

According to WWF Malaysia, TMP is the largest marine protected in Malaysia. As a signatory to the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security, Malaysia has developed a National Plan of Action to protect its portion of the CT area.

Tun Mustapha Park is one of Malaysia’s CTI Priority Conservation Areas.

The focus of research during the recent scientific expedition include community interrelation with forest eco-system services of the islands in TMP, tourism resources assessment, the role of TMP in the conservation of cultural heritage and conservation of TMP marine resources.

Some researchers used the expedition to update their earlier study on the land cover change in TMP’s three main islands – Pulau Banggi, Pulau Balambangan and Pulau Malawali.

It was suggested that inter-agency cooperation and collaborative management approach supported by remote sensing monitoring strategy to ensure long-term sustainability of TMP.

Landsat imageries of 2000 and 2016 revealed a significant reduction of forest area in the land area, while mangroves had declined about 1,400 ha in 16 years.

Bird investigators recorded 102 bird species found in TMP, of which 17 species in 12 families are new additions. For marine species, researchers recorded 18 species of elasmobranches, comprising 11 sharks (Whaler Sharks) and 14 rays (Stingrays of the family Dasyatidae).

Researchers also raised concerns about poaching of the endangered marine species like sea turtle in TMP, citing a discovery of 19 rotting Green Turtle carcasses in the TMP area in 2015.

Ironically, most of the identified tourism attractions are located outside the TMP area. According to Dr Rahimatsah Amat, CEO of Sabah Environmental Trust, Tanjong Priok, which was gazetted as a cultural heritage site, is located at Pulau Balambangan.

Additionally, he said Pulau Guhauan, Pulau Balundangan Besar and Balundangan Kecil are known as sea turtle landing sites and Pulau Bangau is an important nesting site for egrets.

“All these potential tourism attractions are iconic and scarce, and possess added value in term of conservation as well as tourism sector,” he said.

It was also observed that currently, tourism in TMP is limited to small lodging operators and adventure activities by private operators.

Sabah Parks on the other hand has yet to generate revenues from activities in places within TMP.

“Therefore, tourism can be used as a platform to generate as well as to promote sustainable development and conservation in TMP,” Dr Rahimatsah said.

He also suggested that Pulau Balambangan, Pulau Kalutan, Pulau Simanguak, Pulau Guhuan, Pulau Balundangan Besar and Balundangan Kecil and Pulau Bangau be integrated into TMP.

Dr Rahim observed that Pulau Balambangan is an essential location for the purpose of establishing a station/post for Sabah Parks to manage TMP.

In addition, Pulau Balambangan and its cluster are also suitable as concessionaire sites. It’s important as it can generate revenue for TMP.

He said there was also a need to improve and diversify activities for tourists in TMP, especially in the Kudat coastal area.

Low impact water activities such as snorkeling, canoeing, banana boat and para-sailing can also be promoted along the stretch from Pantai Terongkongan up to Simpang Mengayau and towards Kg Parapat Laut.

In addition, attractions such as geological features, sea stack, marine mammals, aquaculture farm or experiencing sea gypsy life style.

“These resources can be promoted to diversify tourism activities and to promote trip packages (day trip or more) with a fee.

“The fee is imposed as conservation fee on both visitors and tour operators (as concession fee for boats).

“Through these actions, sustainable financing can be generated for TMP and responsibility in protecting TMP can be shared with the tour operators,” he said. (By EMIN MADI)


Source: New Sabah Times

Festive visiting strengthens unity, togetherness and brotherhood: Musa

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman (pix) said the practice of visiting especially during festive seasons could strengthen unity and promote the feeling of oneness among the people.

According to Musa, the practice of visiting among the people of various races and beliefs in Sabah such as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Tadau Kaamatan and Christmas could deepen the feeling of brotherhood among the people.

“We will continue with this (mutual visiting) to boost unity among us and enhance our relations. With this we can develop our beloved state of Sabah together,” he told reporters when visiting the open house of United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) in Tamparuli, Tuaran today.

Present were acting Upko president Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin, State Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and Kiulu assemblyman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai who is also Sabah Tourism Board chairman. — Bernama


Source: The Sun Daily