Saturday, September 15, 2012

Prince William andwife to visit Danum Valley Saturday

KOTA KINABALU, Sept 13 (Bernama) -- With a world class ecosystem with about 125 species of mammals, over 300 birds, 72 reptiles and 56 amphibians, the Danum
Valley Conservation Area (DVCA) is truly a wild wonderland that one should not miss.

 Located in the southeastern part of Sabah, dubbed the Land Below the Wind, Danum Valley Conservation Area, covering an area of 43,800 hectares, is one of the last strongholds of undisturbed lowland dipterocarp forest.

Danum Valley Conservation Area, which is the state's class 1 (protection) forest reserve, with tree species numbering over 200 per hectare, is also among the oldest and richest rainforest in the world.
"The beauty of the Danum Valley lies in the intricacy of this absolutely fabulous pristine rainforest," says Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin.

He said Danum Valley Conservation Area is one of the top three rainforest research centres in the world and is older than Amazon rainforest which is about 60 million years old.
These majestic forest with trees reaching over 60m tall provide a vital refuge to some of Sabah's most endangered wildlife such as orangutan, Sumatran rhino, Proboscis monkey and Asian elephant, as well as birds.

"The main attraction of course is its undisturbed lowland dipterocarp forest. That's why the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit this place over the weekend to personally savour the beauty of the Danum Valley Conservation Area. This is an honour for Sabah," he told Bernama, here today.
Prince William and Kate Middleton are expected to visit the Royal Society's South East Asia Rainforest Research programme (SEARRP) in Danum Valley on Saturday.

Tengku Zainal said Danum Valley is also an important advanced research centre with more than 300 studies/research projects completed so far.

Most of the research are collaborative efforts between Malaysian and scientists from overseas and mostly based on long-term research programmes initiated in 1984 between Danum Valley Management Committee and The Royal Society, United Kingdom under its South East Asia Rainforest Research Programme (SEARRP), and these studies have contributed to the understanding of tropical forests.

"Many graduates from bachelors, masters to doctoral and post-doctoral levels including from Cambridge and Oxford universities have done their rainforest research in Danum Valley," he said adding that the rainforest preserves many flora and fauna species found only in Borneo.

Long-term research activities being carried out at Danum Valley are hydrological and geomorphological Studies, Climatic Monitoring Studies, Forest Dynamics Studies, Sabah Biodiversity Experiment (SBE) and Rhino – Orangutan Research Programmes.

Other research includes Entomology, Lepidoptera (butterfly/moth), Coleoptera (beetles), Isoptera (termites) and bird studies.

As for the Sabah government's conservation policy, Tengku Zainal said the state's approach has been identified as one of the best conservation policies in the world.

He said more than 50 per cent of Sabah's land is still forested and this showed the government's seriousness in protecting the rainforest through sustainable management of forest.

State Forestry Department Director Datuk Sam Mannan was recently quoted as saying that despite countless acts of random madness in the past, the rainforests have recovered, considerable biological assets remain untouched and only one species, the Sabah Rhino, is found to be close to extinction.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Maliau Basin Conversation Area is one of Malaysia's finest remaining wilderness areas, set on a sprawling 588.4 square kilometers land in Tawau, at the South Central Part of Sabah.

Maliau Basin contains many outstanding natural features, including probably the greatest number of waterfalls anywhere in Malaysia. The most famed of these is the spectacular 7-tiered Maliau Falls on the Maliau River, the highest fall of which is a magnificent 28m. Maliau is also the home of the fabled Lake Linumunsut, Sabah's only non-oxbow lake, situated below the outer banks of the northern escarpment.

Bounded by formidable escarpment reaching over 1,675 metres above sea level, a virtually self-contained ecosystem, never permanently inhabited and with large areas still remaining to be explored and document.

Maliau Basin has remained in the shadows as "Sabah's Lost World".

In conjunction to MATTA FAIR KOTA KINABALU 2012, we are pleased to promote our newly-developed leisure package into Maliau Basin for booking received during this period.

Minimum 2 Persons Per Departure

Package Includes:
  • All Return Land Transfer
  • Meals - Fullboard on Day 1 & 2; Breakfast & Lunch on Day 3
  • 2 Nights Accommodation at MBSC Resthouse (Standard – Twin Sharing)
  • 1 Night Drive, Forest Ranger cum Radioman, Maliau Nature Gallery Entry Fee & Visitation, Discovery Nature Trail & Maliau Sky Bridge, Video Presentation, Conservation & Trekking Fees and short trekking at Agathis Nature Trail.

Other Maliau Basin packages on MATTA FAIR PROMO - 3D 2N & 5D 4N Maliau Treks.

So, come and visit us at MATTA Fair Kota Kinabalu during 6 - 8 July 2012 at Suria Sabah, Booth No. 58 & 59 (Under Tourism Malaysia)!!! You surely don't want to miss this!

For inquiries and info, please call:

088-318208 / 088-448987

016-8306023 / 016-8321248

Or, email us at:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Dear Valued Customers,

Greetings from Usukan Cove Lodge and Inno Travel & Tour Services (Sabah Holidays) Kota Kinabalu!

Considering the hugely popular demand and overwhelming positive feedbacks received from our valued clients, we are pleased to inform that Usukan Cove Lodge will be back in operation with effect from August 1, 2012.

The oil and gas hub development in the nearby area by our sister company shall continue hand in hand with the operation of our lodge with the expansion of the lodge and its related facilities will be part of the development plan.

We apologise for the inconvenience caused to you all during the cessation of operation and we are looking forward to offer you enjoyable and cherished stay and activities at our Usukan Cove Lodge.

In this respect, please find our current promotion packages as below valid for booking received during the MATTA Fair period.

Again, we are looking forward for and appreciate your continued support.




For inquiries and info, please call:

088-318208 / 088-448987

016-8306023 / 016-8321248

Or, email us at:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

NEWS OF THE DAY Traversing through Sabah’s Imbak Canyon

Borneo Post Posted on May 10, 2012, Thursday KINABATANGAN,Sabah: ‘A valuable piece of natural heritage’ – this epithet best describes the Imbak Canyon conservation area located in Ulu Kinabatangan, right in the heart of Sabah. The 30,000-hectare virgin dipterocarp forest lies between two other conservation areas – the Danum Valley and the Maliau Basin. One may wonder, however, whether the landscape here resembles the Grand Canyon in Arizona, United States. Not exactly, but the word ‘canyon’ in the name refers to the 750-metre deep and 3-kilometre wide ravine carved out of the rock cliffs by the Imbak River, which makes part of the landscape look like a canyon. The Imbak Canyon is surrounded by sandstone cliffs reaching a height of 3,700 feet, and the numerous flora and fauna thriving in this rain forest represent a rich biodiversity. The Imbak Canyon, located at a five-hour drive away from Kota Kinabalu, is managed by Yayasan Sabah (YS), which is involved in the conservation, research, training, education and nature recreation activities conducted there. The beauty of the canyon The Imbak Canyon is a catchment area for two important rivers in the state – the Imbak and the Kinabatangan Rivers – which not only provide water but also serve as a mode of transport and livelihood source for those living in the area. Nestled between the Maliau Basin and the Danum Valley, the Imbak Canyon is regarded as an important buffer zone for wildlife, according to Yayasan Sabah’s head of Conservation and Environmental Management Dr Waidi Sinun. Three expeditions conducted in 2000, 2004 and 2010, respectively, explored the natural treasures of the area, identifying 312 plant species in the region, of which 32 were endemic to Borneo, including six species which are found only in Sabah. With regard to the fauna, Dr Waidi remarked that more than 200 species of birds live in Imbak Canyon, five of which are endemic to Borneo and found only in the conservation area. These expeditions have also recorded the presence of pygmy elephants, leopards, bears, mouse deer and the Sumatran rhinoceros in this region. “The Class 1 Forest Reserve also boasts of a unique landscape, with the ravine – which appears like a canyon – being the most striking feature,” Dr Waidi told Bernama at the recent inaugural ceremony of the Ulu Kinabatangan Information Centre and Jetty project at Kampung Imbak. The Imbak Canyon is also home to two panoramic waterfalls – the Imbak Waterfalls and the 8-tier Waterfall. Conservation efforts with Petronas In its efforts to conserve Imbak Canyon, Yayasan Sabah has collaborated with the national petroleum giant Petronas to gather information about the area, undertake biodiversity conservation efforts, preserve the genetic pool and explore the pharmaceutical and biotechnological potential of the flora there. “The Information Centre and Jetty project will open new economic opportunities for local communities to improve their livelihood without affecting the environment,” Dr Waidi explained. The information centre will display informative posters on Ulu Kinabatangan and exhibit a 3D model of the canyon. The information centre will also be of use to the Imbak Canyon Porter and Tourists Guide Association, and the locals would be able to sell their handicrafts at the centre. Dr Waidi noted that the establishment of the information centre and the association for porters and guides was a step in the right direction towards involving the local communities in the conservation efforts. — Bernama Read more:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

NEWS OF THE DAY ~ Associations shoot down cabbies as tour guides move

Borneo Post Posted on May 7, 2012, Monday KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Tourist Guide Association (STGA) and Malaysia Association of Tours & Travel Agent, Sabah (Matta Sabah) members are concerned over the recent statement by Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen urging taxi and hired car associations to offer attractive packages and to double up as tour guides atthe recent launching of Taxi Tourism Service. At the launch, 36 taxi drivers were awarded certificates to participate in the ministry’s pilot project, eventualy to be introduced at other places in Malaysia. In addition, the drivers are given RM100 monthly allowance each and expected to earn more through the taxi tourism packages. Matta Sabah chairman KL Tan said, “Tourism should benefit all community, this include taxi drivers but can taxi associations under their current legislations offer tour packages? “Taxi association was set up to carry passengers and tourist guide association was set up to represent guides while Matta was set up to organise tours. Are we setting the precedent to do away with the guideline and certification process?” Daniel Doughty, the chairman of Sabah Tourist Guides Association, reminded Ng that to be a qualified tour guide, there is a minimum academic requirement in addition to the mandatory three weeks to six months to obtain either green badge or blue badge. “Hence the need of only a day-course to be a tourist guide is disturbing to us.” all as everyone is concerned on the quality of service, operating standards and insurance issues amongst others. “If Datuk Ng Yen Yen really believes it is a good idea, some members suggest that taxi licenses to be given to existing tourist guides. They run business like a travel agent and will further improve taxi services in Malaysia. Then be prepared for the possible worst case scenario,” Doughty added. Both STGA and MATTA Sabah believe MOTOUR have just open up another window of opportunity for the illegal tour operators and illegal tourist guides. “If every taxi driver can be a guide and act like a travel agent, why should travel agents have proper premises, paid up capital, comply with Tourism Industry Act 1992, incur overhead costs, and obtain tour buses an vans or hire and drive cars with high premiums? Better to dispose of the vans and cars and purchase taxis to carry out inbound business. Allowing taxi drivers to act as travel agent or tour consultant could lead to many unwanted negative impacts in our destination marketing and national image overall,” said Tan. “We hope for better clarification and to be debriefed regards to this sudden announced project. At this stage we believe that the decision to proceed with this project is irresponsible and unfair to the stakeholders of tourism industry in Malaysia, particularly to tourist guides as it may affect our profession. “If it is possible, we wish to see the project conceptual document, as it may detail the SWOT analysis prior to implementing. We hope to understand how can such action will further assist and improve the livelihood of tourist guides, particularly in Sabah,” added Doughty.

NEWS OF THE DAY ~ Sabahans will be affected if sharks extinct – Masidi

Borneo Post Posted on May 7, 2012, Monday KOTA KINABALU: Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun has called on Sabahans to support and protect the population of sharks that are heading towards extinction to ensure the tourism industry would not be affected badly. He said the tourism industry, particularly diving activity, is depending on the sharks as most of the divers want to see them in the natural habitat. Therefore, there is a need to protect the sharks population, which is now only 20 per cent remaining in the Sabah waters. He said diving activity is contributing to the growth of tourism in Sabah. Last year, it contributed a turnover of RM237 million to the tourism industry. “Just imagine if the sharks’ population is heading towards extinction, divers will move to other countries and it will affect the tourism industry,” he said after launching the Imperial Gourmet Soup Challenge-2012 Sabah Protect Sharks, organized by JCI Tanjung Aru at Suria Sabah Shopping Complex here yesterday. Masidi said the only industry that is totally owned by Sabahans is tourism as almost 90 per cent of the tourism operators and staff are Sabahans. “If we look at the other industries such as plantation, 80 per cent of the workers are Indonesians and 70 per cent of the construction workers also foreigners. “If the tourism industry is affected because of the sharks extinction, the first persons affected are local people. Therefore, I would like to urge the people of Sabah to protect and take care of welfare of the workers in Sabah by protecting sharks. “It is wrong for us probably to protect the sharks so that the future of Sabahans can be protected and they can make money from the industry. “It is more on whether we love shark fins more or we love Sabahans less,” he pointed out. Masidi stressed that without sharks, he assured the diving industry will just collapse because the Indonesians and Southern Filipinos are coming up with it. It is a matter of time before they catch up with us in Sabah. Commenting on the enforcement of the Fisheries Act to protect sharks, he said it had not been done yet as they had proposed to the related federal ministry to carry out amendment to the Act. “We would ask for amendment to protect all types of sharks in Sabah. Even now, there is existing protection on certain type of sharks. But we want all the sharks to be protected in Sabah to ensure we can the save the population of sharks.” On the Imperial Gourmet Soup Challenge to find an alternative to sharp fin soup, Masidi said it was carried out by JCI Tanjung Aru to encourage people to have an option in soup other than shark fin soup. “Shark fin is considered a very prestigious soup and normally served during wedding ceremony. What they are trying to show today is that there is other alternative prestigious soup and the reason why they have this challenge is to prove to the people that there are other soups to impress the guests. “The challenge is to educate the people not to eat shark fin soup as the sharks are heading towards extinction,” said the minister. Read more:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

NEWS OF THE DAY ~ Massive traffic jam

Sabah Times 3rd May, 2012 KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Masidi Manjun has expressed the hope that organisers must first assess Sabah’s logistic capability in future before holding major events like the Tour de Borneo cycling race. “If we are not careful we may end up chasing away tourists who are already in Sabah or intending to come here, instead of getting new ones. “The industry is very sensitive to any issue that has direct impact on its efficiency,” the Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister said. He was responding to public complaints including from tour operators, over the massive traffic jam caused by the cycling tour along the designated routes, between Kota Kinabalu and Kundasang, especially, on Tuesday. Masidi also said there was a need to review the suitability of Sabah’s road system for such a race in future, citing that the closure of major roads in Sabah during the event has resulted in unimaginable inconveniences to many people especially motorists. “Not many knew about the road closure. Many motorists were trapped in the traffic jam for many hours due to this, some with hungry young kids in their cars. “Tour agents and motorists were fuming mad as they could not proceed with their Mt Kinabalu tour or have to reschedule their clients’ return flights. In fact some tourists were reported to have demanded for refund,” he said. He continued that bicycle race like Tour de Langkawi worked well in Pulau Langkawi because of the good network of roads on the island, where motorists have alternative roads to take to avoid the designated roads for the race. This was coupled with the fact that the island has a small population. “But in Sabah if a tour bus full of tourists is caught by road closure along the Kundasang Tamparuli road, they would be stuck there for the next two hours to allow the cyclists to pass through, as there is no alternative road to take,” he pointed out. Masidi however acknowledged that the Tour de Borneo was a sport tourism product. Meanwhile, the chairman of Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Sabah Chapter, KL Tan too expressed regret that the closure of the designated roads has caused misery and hardship to the community and tourists. “Many motorists were trapped in their cars in Ranau yesterday because there are no alternative roads for them to escape.” he wrote in his SMS circulated to its members, as well as to Masidi and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Datuk Tan Kok Liang, on Tuesday. In a separate SMS, he noted that he had spoken to the Deputy CP and the latter had given him assurance that police would assist to ensure tour vans and buses could reach Kinabalu Park by 9am (on Tuesday). However, it was reliably learnt that several foreign tourists from a major resort missed their flight home, because of the massive traffic jam. A lot of vehicles including express buses from Sandakan heading towards Kota Kinabalu, too were stranded in Kundasang for more than four hours. And, many had to take a longer route via Tambunan to return to Kota Kinabalu. A teacher from Ranau lamented that he had to traverse a dangerous gravel road to fetch his wife because the main road was closed to traffic until 5pm. It was reliably learnt that the road between Kota Kinabalu and Ranau was closed from 2pm to 4pm, to allow the cyclists to pass through. Tan also said the notice issued by the organizers of the event to the tour operators concerning the road closures was too short, if there was any. Tour of Borneo which covers a total distance of 758.4 kilometres, started from Semporna and passed through Tawau, Lahad Datu, Sandakan, Sepilok, Kundasang and ends in Kota Kinabalu. Its main objective is to promote interest in cycling among the younger generations in Sabah, and expose Malaysian riders to more international level competition, thus contributing to the development of cycling in Malaysia. Meanwhile, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) information chief Chong Pit Fah said he too received many complaints about the traffic jam between Tuaran and Kinarut. “City dwellers were caught in traffic jam resulting in them having to take more than an hour to reach the city centre if they were driving from either Kepayan or Likas. In normal days, motorists from both areas would only take 10 minutes,” he noted. He said while SAPP welcomed the staging of international sports events like the Tour of Borneo to better promote Sabah, the organisers must always plan and execute carefully, so as not to cause inconveniences to the people.