Friday, December 04, 2009

Bird watching will boost Sabah's tourism

Kota Kinabalu: Bird-watching has the potential to be a money making activity as well as a major tourist attraction in Sabah, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun here on Thursday.

He said bird watching has been a popular activity in the West where the turnover from this field alone reaches US$2 billion a year.

"Over there (in the US) this activity is considered an industry. People would flock and stand in line for hours, just to get a glimpse of birds which actually are a common specie over here in Sabah," he said.

He said that currently there are 850,000 members of a bird watching group in the UK, making it among the most profitable business there, where a bird lovers guide earns a steady income of US$100 per day.

Resorts and other tourism operators in the State should seriously look into bird watching as Sabah is one of the few places that is rich with diverse species of birds that are not found anywhere else in the world, he said.

Approximately, 300 species of birds have been documented within the Kinabalu National Park, which is more than half the total bird species in Sabah (514) and roughly half the entire number of bird species present in the island of Borneo, he said.

"Operators should take this opportunity as it doesn't involve a high budget to run a bird watching activity. All you need is a few tents and a guide who knows a lot about birds," he said.

Apart from giving more profit to the operators, the bird watching business would also boost tourism in the State, as well as in Malaysia as a whole, said Masidi.

He was speaking at the closing of a 'Hotel Management, Hotel Operation and Internet Marketing' course organised by the Malaysian Budget Hotel Association (MBHA) here.

He urged the operators of budget hotels, which are rated as 2 star and below, to buff up on certain aspects of their services and facilities.

Masidi said the number one complaint of foreign guests who stayed at budget hotels here in Sabah is that the toilets and bathrooms are filthy.

"Foreigners are very particular about toilets. Unlike the locals, foreigners prefer to have a sitting toilet and dry washing area. That is why the operators should identify which type of guests they have the most and build facilities that suit their majority guests.

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1 comment:

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