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Spectacular sunset in Tanjung Aru

KOTA KINABALU: A visit to the state capital would not be complete if you do not walk on the iconic Tanjung Aru beach to catch a glimpse of the spectacular sunset.

This appears to be the latest tagline used by tour companies to promote their packages, here, and the numbers don’t lie — judging from people who turn up everyday at the coastal stretch of the city.

South Korean student Park So-yeon, 22, said she found out about the sunset walk from reviews posted on the Internet and she was not disappointed.

“I came here with a friend from college at around 4pm and we have been here since then,” she said, recently, when met before the sunset, which normally takes place between 6pm and 6.30pm.

Foreign tourists make up the majority of those who turn up along the two kilometre stretch of the beach but locals too can be seen with their families, playing games and water sports.

Wang, from Shanghai, China, said visiting the beach was a rare treat for her.

“It’s not surprising that tourists from China flock to this place for the warm weather and the beautiful scenery,” she said.

Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said the popularity of the beach and other coastal areas in Sabah has grown over the years.

“Our sunsets are among the best in the world,” he said in explaining the main reason behind its popularity.

“We, at the board have been promoting our beautiful sunsets, not just in Tanjung Aru, but all over Sabah through social media,” he said.

Source : New Straits Times

CM sees creative industry potential

KOTA KINABALU: Tan Sri Musa Haji Aman has expressed confidence that the creative industry can grow into a dynamic sector in the future.

The Chief Minister said this sector has an important role to support the needs of the community in both urban and rural areas, and that its growth is the hallmark of a maturing society which values its creative roots and culture.

In his speech at the launch of a seminar on ‘Nurturing Sabah’s Rural Creative Communities’ at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort here yesterday, he said the development of the creative industry locally needed to focus on the various strengths and advantages that Sabah has in terms of creative resources.

The text of his speech was delivered by Special Tasks Minister Datuk Teo Chee Kang. “Sabah is well recognised as culturally diverse with vast resources in the fields of performing arts, visual arts, film and handicraft.

“The state also has a substantial pool of creative talents who have consistently proven their abilities at national level, as well as actors and film-makers currently involved in the screen industry locally and nationally,” he said.

And, he also said Sabah was also an internationally-established tourist destination, particularly in nature tourism. Sabah’s assortment of world class natural attractions, abundance of flora and fauna and unique wildlife, he said, also made the state an attractive destination for documentary projects and commercial photography, apart from film making.

The Chief Minister added that the three main niche areas Sabah could focus on were cultural heritage, performing arts and creative media.

“This ‘uniquely Sabah’ approach will provide the best prospect for us to position the state in the national and global creative industries market,” he said.

Musa added that although most of the measures surrounding the development of the creative industry was centred at urban areas, most of its creative assets could be considered to be ‘rural-centric’ and particular key ‘creative place’ strengths that existed in rural areas could attract creative workers.

Rural innovations, he said, could be driven by urban demand and the creative industry often dispersed a range of creative products, services and experiences that had been pioneered in urban areas but new to the economy of many rural places.

Musa also said developing creative industries in rural areas generated potential for sustainable high-quality enterprises and employment opportunities and would contribute to rural diversification.

Growth in such products and services, he added, correlated to rising levels of disposable income and better education.

“Hence, the role of creative industries in rural areas must be more widely acknowledged and better understood by local governments in order to pursue innovation policies and plans aimed at rural development.

“In particular, policy should routinely integrate the creative industry in plans for town centre re-development, as well as tourism strategies and marketing initiatives to help attract and retain skilled and creative individuals.

“In tandem with this, the development of government institutional support can be driven by groups in the creative industry.

“Some of the strategic measures of the government to develop the sector have taken off such as in creating a talent pool to support the sector successfully.

“And, this includes work through the creative industries cluster under the Working Committee on Nurturing Human Capital in Sabah co-chaired by IDS and SEDIA which has progressed positively and shown encouraging results,” Musa said.

According to him, policymakers have been interested in the creative industry given its size and growth and that its impact had been clearly demonstrated through its contribution to economic growth of certain countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Japan.

This industry, he said, had also been identified as the cornerstone in the transformation of economies in places like New Zealand, South Korea and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, he said the seminar was relevant, especially when the success of our State’s development efforts today partly hinge on grass-roots participation. This will be an opportune time for the government, private sector and related stakeholders to work closely to intensify sharing of knowledge, thoughts and insights on how we can continue to enhance our efforts and resources towards the development of an exciting and potential new growth sector for Sabah.

He also said the first multipurpose community theatre or Black Box Theatre in Sabah had been established and was gaining popularity among Sabahans and tourists alike.

In addition, he said the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC), expected to be completed by next year, would include a world standard Performing Arts Centre to cater for regional and international concerts and events. “There is an increasing number of creative events such as the on-going community awareness project, Sabah Glow, which was successfully organised by IINSCAPE recently”.

Yesterday’s seminar was organised by the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) Sabah in partnership with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and in collaboration with the Society of Performing Arts Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (SPArKS).

Also present were IDS chairman Datuk Clarence Bongkos and chief executive officer Datuk Hasnol Ayub as well as the president of SPArKS Roger Wang.

Source : New Sabah Times

Sabah economy takes flight

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s economy is gaining traction with the increasing number of tourist arrivals at Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) here, says Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

The Transport Minister said between January and August this year, tourist arrivals at KKIA stood at 5.3 million as compared to 4.7 million in the same period last year.

“This is an increase of more than 13%, a double-digit growth that is impressive by any measure,” he said after opening the state MCA annual general meeting yesterday.

Liow said his ministry was prepared to engage more airlines to use KKIA to fly more tourists into the state.

He said Sandakan airport was also being upgraded to complement KKIA.

“The runway is being extended from the current 2.1km to 2.6km at a cost of RM80mil.

“This will enable the airport to accommodate wide-bodied aircraft such as the Boeing 777 or Airbus 330,” he said.

Liow, who is also MCA president, said the Federal Government, through his ministry, was also doing all possible to make Sepanggar Port more efficient as part of its long-term measures to reduce costs of goods in the state.

MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, who was also present, said the Government was responsive to concerns of Sabahans such as scrapping the unpopular cabotage policy, paving the way for the port to be “busier than ever”.

“Sepanggar is now essentially an open port and this will help to drive Sabah’s economy,” Dr Wee added.

Recently, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the scrapping of the policy that limits the shipment of goods from the peninsula to Sabah and Sarawak to only Malaysian-flagged ships, effective June 1.

The 30-year-old policy has been blamed for the higher costs of goods in Sabah.

However, the policy will still be applicable to cargo shipping operations within Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.

Dr Wee said the Opposition had spoken out against the policy when it was in place but then voiced its disagreement when it was being removed.

He said as such, Sabahans should be wary of their tactics which were mainly to stir up the people’s emotions.

“Their leaders claim to want to protect the rights of Sabahans but they have shown time and again that what they say and do are two different things,” he said.

Source : The Star

Firm, UMS to develop village into tourist attraction

KOTA KINABALU: Kampung Tambisan could become the next major tourist destination in Sabah.

Tambisan Travel and Tours Sdn. Bhd. managing director Antin Ismail said the village in the interior of Lahad Datu boasts rich flora and fauna, which was what inspired him to promote localsˇ way of life and culture.

¨I think the activities carried out by locals in Kampung Tambisan can be developed into a tourism product.

¨With the involvement and positive acceptance of the community towards the importance of tourism, we have decided to help develop the industry in Kampung Tambisan,〃 he said in his opening address at the letter of intent signing between Tambisan Travel and Tours Sdn. Bhd. and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).

In addition to raising awareness on the role of tourism in preserving and conserving the environment, the collaboration is also to implement community-based tourism in Kampung Tambisan as well as to provide a guideline, he added.

UMS Faculty of Business, Economics and Accountancy Dean, Associate Professor Dr Raman Nordin, said community-based tourism was a form of sustainable tourism that could positively impact the lives of locals and improve socio-economy.

¨I believe with cooperation from the local community, Tambisan is able to succeed in the project and serve as an example to other community-based tourism models in other places,〃 he said.

Dr Raman also expressed hope for a stronger collaboration such as through a memorandum of understanding, so that all parties can benefit from the initiative.

Source: Borneo Post

‘Nurturing Sabah’s Rural Creative Communities’ seminar

KOTA KINABALU: The Institute for Development Studies (Sabah) (or IDS) in partnership with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung of Germany (KAS), and in collaboration with the Society of Performing Arts Kota Kinabalu (SPArKS) is organising a seminar entitled Nurturing Sabah’s Rural Creative Communities.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Hj Aman has been invited to declare open the one-day seminar on Oct 12 at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa, here.

Executive Director of IDS, Datuk Mohd Hasnol bin Ayub in a statement said the Creative Economy is today recognised as a leading sector in generating economic growth, employment and trade.

He said the creative industries are seen as a key component in a new knowledge economy – capable of delivering urban and rural regeneration, often through initiatives linked to utilization of cultural heritage that leads to increased tourism.

“In Malaysia, the Government is embarking in creative industries strategies through the National Creative Industry Policy (Dasar Industri Kreatif Negara, launched in 2011),” said Hasnol. “While in Sabah the Sabah Development Corridor Blueprint has emphasised the importance of the creative industries in order to achieve some of its key objectives.”

The study on the development of creative industries in Sabah has also been initiated by the State government, he said.

He added that although the national and state strategies are primarily focused on developing a creative class synonymous with an urban lifestyle and amenities, the success of the “Creative Economy” idea in Sabah is also dependent on the important role and success of rural and non-urban regions. These locations can offer a different collection of amenities that can be equally attractive to a subset of the creative class, and create self-sustaining rural creative communities.

“Creativity, especially in culture, traditional heritage, and tourism assets, coupled with a vast rural area are essential keys to Sabah’s unique and distinctive identity,” Hasnol said. “In exploring the untapped potentials of rural creative communities, Sabah could position itself to boost their contribution in terms of income generation, employment and by extension, poverty reduction.”

About 150 participants both from public and private sectors, NGOs, industry players and related stakeholders are expected to attend the seminar.

Those interested to participate in the seminar may contact Lailah Chung or Marianne Kiob at 088-450500.

Source : New Sabah Times