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Visit Keningau Year 2018 will put Keningau on World Tourism Map

KENINGAU — Visit Keningau Year 2018 will enable the district to make its mark on the world tourism map, said Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

However, the success of Visit Keningau Year 2018 depended on the quality of service provided by residents, especially those operating tourism products.

“This is our aim. We want Keningau to be known by the world,” he emphasised when closing the Crocker Range Festival here.

The text of his speech was read out by  Sabah Rural Development Minister Datuk Radin Malleh.

Pairin, who is also Keningau Member of Parliament, said the celebration committee for Visit Keningau Year 2018 plans numerous activities to suit the preference of visitors throughout the year.

He urged Keningau residents to play their part in ensuring that the district was always clean as the effort to promote tourism would also boost its economy.



Source: Malaysian Digest

62 species of dragonflies found in Imbak Canyon, Danum Valley

KOTA KINABALU: Sixty-two species of dragonflies were found in Imbak Canyon and Danum Valley during the recent Yayasan Sabah Batu Timbang Scientific Expidition, where some of it are endemic to Sabah.

One of participants of the expedition, Dr Choong Chee Yen, said one particular species, Telosticta Janeus can only be found in Imbak Canyon and Danum Valley.

“According to the previous research on this area, there are 68 species of dragonflies recorded but during this recent trip I only managed to identify 62. This is due to limited time, but from my observation the population of dragonflies there are healthy,” he said.

According to Choong, there is a need to do more studies on dragonflies in the particular area to record as many number of species living there, in order to gain a better information of populations.

“There is also a need to know if the Telosticta Janeus can live in the other parts of forest in Sabah,” he said.


Source: Borneo Post

Sabah set for new tourist influx record

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah tourism sector is set to create a new record this year as the influx of tourists continue to soar, probably hitting the 3.7 million mark surpassing the targeted 3.55 million.

“In a few weeks (Dec 20), Batik Air (Indonesia) will commence Jakarta-Kota Kinabalu sector, making it the 14th international airline to be served by Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA),” said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

“In the first quarter next year, Kota Kinabalu will be connected to Chengdu, Changsha and Tianjin that used to be charter flights now coming in as scheduled flights,” Masidi disclosed during the bi-annual 11th Sabah Tourism Awards 2017 at a resort here on Saturday.

He also shared that Consul-General of China in Kota Kinabalu Liang Caide is working to mount a scheduled flight from Beijing to Kota Kinabalu either by this month or early next year.

“This is good news for us because the Chinese government is making the arrangement for us and it will be operated by Xiamen Airlines.

“I take this opportunity to thank the Consul-General of China in Kota Kinabalu for giving us the cooperation to bring in more Chinese tourists to Sabah.

“This is another challenge as we are fast running out of hotel rooms; so my message to investors is please facilitate in building 4-5 star hotels because there is a real need for it,” said Masidi.

Up to Oct this year, he said KKIA has welcomed 190 chartered flights from China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan making it the second busiest after Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

KKIA is serving 171 international and 410 domestic flights weekly, connected to 16 international destinations via 13 foreign airlines. China and South Korea are the busiest routes with 84 and 35 flights respective per week, he said.

“Cruise season have started. Last week over 3,000 passengers from the European cruise arrived at our port in Kota Kinabalu.

“We are expecting three more cruises by year-end or at least l0,000 more arrivals from all over the world,” said Masidi.

“We will not stop there. When the Sabah International Convention Centre is completed in 2018, the business events industry in Sabah will progress dramatically as the centre had 5,000 seating capacity,” said Masidi.

As of Sept this year, he said Sabah had received closed to 30,000 MICE arrivals generating a revenue of some RM78 million, reflected the readiness of Sabah to stage large scale events and for this, the Sabah Tourism Board will set up MICE section next year.

“By 2020, business events are expected to contribute RM3.9 billion in gross national income for Malaysia or 2.9 million extra business events visitors. Sabah will have a share of the market by next year,” Masidi revealed.

He said 2016 was regarded as an outstanding year for Sabah tourism chalking up 3.427 million arrivals eclipsed the 2013 results, dubbed as ‘best year in tourism’.

“We are expecting better results this year as up to Oct this year, the arrivals went up by 11.8 per cent to 2,929,181 million compared to the same period of last year, he said.

From Jan to Oct, he said Sabah recorded an increase of 7.67 per cent to 1,004,354 international arrivals compared to last year.

Domestic arrivals went up by 10.5 percent to 2,011,258 so far. The tourism receipts have been estimated at RM6.396 billion, a robust nine per cent growth compared to the same period last year, he said.

“We commend the industry’s leaders in service excellence and recognise those that are raising the bar in terms of enhancing visitor experiences.

“The award is a tangible symbol of recognition for your accomplishment. It is a competitive world and we need to be on the move all the time, not be complacent,” Masidi said.

He said quality service culture is essential to sustain and drive the industry. “We need to inculcate the service oriented community. I hope to see this become a reality in years to come,” he said.

Meanwhile, Masidi said next year the industry will emphasis on rural tourism as Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Haji Aman has set aside a fund in the State 2018 Budget to promote that sector.

“We have achieved a good level in the urban areas and now we want to introduce the rural areas to visitors to allow Sabahans in the interior to have a share in the spillover we are enjoying now.

“We have the foreign market for the rural tourism,” he said.

The highlight of the evening was the presentations of the Minister’s Special Awards which respectively went to Sipadan-Mabul Resort chief executive officer Robert Lo and Kadamaian Tourism Association chairman Walter Duis Kandayon who received on behalf of their members.

“These rural folks at Kadamaian are an exemplary group that fully embraced digital marketing to promote their destination.

“There is no escaping the digital era. Even tonight (Saturday), the event can be seen live by our partners overseas and on your phones. This is possible with just a fraction of the cost compared to broadcasting in the past,” Masidi said.

Lo is also the founder and president of Miss Scuba International and he was recognised for his efforts in using the beauty pageant to raise the awareness on the threat of ocean pollution to our planet.


Source: New Sabah Times

Focus on rural tourism: Masidi

Kota Kinabalu: State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said his Ministry will be focusing on rural tourism next year.

“It is my hope that the Chief Minister’s intention in the 2018 State Budget to focus on rural tourism will become a reality next year.

“I am confident that we in Sabah have an excellent tourism product. We want the community in the rural areas to also enjoy the spill-over from the tourism industry.

“We don’t want those in the urban areas, hotels and airlines only to profit but also those in the rural areas.

There is an interest from foreign tourists to go to the rural areas in the State to enjoy the tourism attractions there,” he said to reporters at the 11th Sabah Tourism Awards, here, Saturday.

He also took the opportunity to acknowledge the people at Kadamaian in Kota Belud who built their tourism industry from scratch without or little assistance.

“I have given special mention (Ministers Special Award) to the Kadamaian Tourism Association Sabah (Kata) to emphasise that focus. We found that we have achieved a good level tourism wise in the urban and city areas and that there is also a need to focus on rural tourism.

“What made me happy is that the local people themselves were actively involved in promoting rural tourism products,” he said, adding that up to September, the Kadamaian people had earned up to RM500,000 and that they had fully embraced technology to promote their destination. Masidi also announced that there will be direct commercial flights between Kota Kinabalu and Beijing latest by early next year.

“I have spoken to the Consul General of China, Liang Caide, and he informed me that he is arranging to have direct flights between Beijing and Kota Kinabalu.

“This is good news for me as it reflects the confidence of Chinese government in our capabilities to give the best service to Chinese tourists,” he said, adding that the route which would be facilitated by Xiamen Airways was under discussion. “This will happen perhaps before end of the year or early next year.”

Masidi also urged banks to facilitate investment in hotel construction, especially four and five-star hotels, to cater to the rising number of Chinese tourists amid concerns raised over the availability of accommodation with more tourists expected from Beijing.

“We are running out of hotel rooms, so while I am very happy that the Chinese government is trying its best to help us to get direct Beijing-Kota Kinabalu flight service, at the same time, I am also quite apprehensive if we have enough rooms to cater to their demands.

“My message is to all investors and banks, please facilitate the investment in hotels, especially four and five-star hotels, as there is a real need for them.” Masidi said as of October this year, Sabah has welcomed 363,977 tourists from China. He said 2016 was an outstanding year for tourism in Sabah with total arrivals of 3.427 million.

“That year, we surpassed the results for 2013, known as the ‘best year in tourism’.

“This year up to last October, we have recorded 2,929,181 arrivals or an 11.8 per cent increase compared to the same time last year.

“From January to October, over a million international tourists (1,004,354) have visited Sabah, up 7.67 per cent compared to last year. Domestic arrivals have reached 2,011,258 (up 10.5 per cent).

“So far, tourism receipts have been estimated at RM6.396 billion, a robust nine per cent growth compared to the same period last year. That’s around more than half a million ringgit extra income earned for Sabah this year.

He said Kota Kinabalu international Airport (KKIA) is the second busiest airport after KLIA, serving 171 international and 410 domestic nights weekly.

“We are connected to 16 international destinations brought in by 13 foreign airlines, the busiest route coming from 84 nights from China and 35 nights from Korea weekly.

“In a few weeks (December 20), a new airline, Batik Air (lndonesia) will commence direct Jakarta -Kota Kinabalu flights. It will be the 14th international airline served by KKIA.

“For the next quarter next year, Kota Kinabalu will be connected to three more Chinese cities.

Chengdu, Changsha and Tianjin. What used to be charter flights coming from these three cities will now be scheduled flights, showing that the routes have ‘matured’.

He said up to October, 190 charter flights from Northern Asia (China, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan) arrived in KKlA.

“The cruise season have started. Last week over 3,000 passengers from the European cruise arrived at our port in Kota Kinabalu. We are expecting three more cruises up to the year-end or a total of at least 10,000 more arrivals from all over the world.

“If we continue with this trend, we could exceed the targeted 3.55 million this year with total arrivals estimated between 3.6 -3.7 million. That could very well be the best achievement in history.”

On the Sabah Tourism Award 2017, Masidi said he was happy with it, adding the biennial awards was important to appreciate all tourism players and a testimony they had played their role to help boost the industry.

Among the winners for this year were Ministers Special Awards (Robert Lo and Kadamaian Tourism Association Sabah), Best Tourism Attraction (Borneon Sun Bear Conservation and Mari Mari Cultural Village, Excellence in Hotel Services: (Shangrila Rasa Ria, Ming Garden Hotel, Hotel Sixty3, Borneo Nature Lodge, Koposizon Homestay Papar, Sipadan Mabul Resort Water Bungalow), Best Inbound Tour Operator: (Amazing Borneo Tours and Events ), Best Inbound Tour Package (3D2N Bird Watching Kinabatangan-Kinabatangan Jungle Camp), Best Tour Guide: Napoleon Dimus (Borneo Rainforest Lodge), Most promising Tour Guide: Mohd Shirou (S.I. Tours), Best Food Outlets: Naan- flavours of India, Shangrila Rasa Ria and Hokkaido Sakagura Restaurant, Best Shopping Complex: Imago, Best Night Spot Experience: (Shamrock Irish Bar), Best SPA Reflexology: (Helen Beauty Reflexology and CHI, The Spa Shangrila Tg Aru) , Best Airline Partners: (China Southern Airlines, Eastar Jet, Spring Airlines, Airasia), Best Community Based Tourism Initiative (Rural): (Padas Farmstay Tenom -TYK Adventure Tours), Best Golfing Experience: (Dalit Bay Golf and Country Club). – Neil Chan


Source: Daily Express

Kudat ideal for surfing

Kudat: State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said Kudat has sports tourism potential, particularly with its white sandy beaches and sea conditions which make it a great place to surf.

“Based on feedback, there are many surfing fans here and sports tourism is something that we can do in Kudat,” he said.

“If possible, we want each district to have a specialisation. I find surfing appropriate for Kudat, taking into account the sea and wave conditions here,” he said during the Music and Surf 2017 Festival at the Kalampunian Beach, here, recently.

The three-day event, which ended on Sunday, saw 60 surfers (41 men, four women and 15 groms – surfers below 16) who came from across the country, Indonesia and Finland.

Jointly organised by Sri Pelancongan Sabah and Sabah Surfing Association, with support from the Ministry and Kudat District Office, the event not only drew visitors to the Tip of Borneo but also boost economic activities for local vendors, some coming from as far as Papar.

The power trip that left the venue in total darkness for several minutes during the Sunset Music Concert, which started at about 4.30pm, did little to dampen the lively scene as music lovers danced under the rain to the beat of local band performances.

“This is the first time we combine music fest and surfing. There’s still room for improvement but the response is encouraging,” Masidi said.

“Perhaps in future, we should start the event earlier. I suggest 2pm, or maybe in the morning, because among challenges for visitors coming here is the distance as well as the road coming here which is not so easy and could cause people to be worried about going home too late,” he added.

He said there is also a need to rethink whether to continue having the two events at the same spot, or perhaps the surfing to be held at the beach while the music fest at its previous spot.

“The difference is that it will be free admission for people to attend, but it also depends on the weather.

“I see we have an encouraging crowd, but the weather not so. Thus, it is important that every year we have to evaluate suitability of theme and ways, I hope if there is a need for change and improvement in future, we will do so.

“This event is in our tourism calendar, but the unpredictable weather makes it a bit difficult to find the appropriate time,” he said.

Meanwhile, the surf competition, held officially for the first time this year, saw surfers from Indonesia bagging the top four spots in the Men’s Open category, with I Made Darmayasa winning first place, followed by Demian Ammar (second), Putu Arya Gunata (third) and Wayan Rian (fourth).

First place went to Tytti Beltran from Finland in the Women Open Category, with Malaysia’s Evita Ceresa, Emalina Aimi and Jessica Ukiu in second, third and fourth placing, respectively.

Malaysians won the top four spots for the Grom Category (below 16), with Ayep Jasni winning first place, followed by Chris Jericho Lisad, Marcheles Alonso Masip and Hakimi Rizal Azman in second, third and fourth placing respectively.

Best Women Title went to Evita Ceresa, while Ken Lisad won the Best Men Title and Chris Jericho Lisad Best Grom Title.

Also present were Sabah Tourism Board (STB) Chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, STB General Manager Gordon Yapp and Sabah Parks Chairman Tengku Datuk Ser Dr Zainal Adlin Tengku Mahamood, among others. – Sherell Jeffrey


Source: Daily Express