Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Mount Kinabalu area may become a Geopark site

KOTA KINABALU: A Unesco advisor on geological tourism has disclosed here that there is a possibility of the area around Mount Kinabalu to be established as a Geopark.

Professor Ross K Dowling, the foundation professor of tourism at the Edith Cowan University (ECU) of Western Australia, said Sabah and Sarawak have major possibilities for developing tourism, especially with the potential in establishment of Geoparks which the Unesco endorses.

When asked about the possible locations, he said the obvious one would be the area around Mt Kinabalu and the other is the Crocker Range on the other side of Sabah.

In the case of Sarawak, Professor Ross said among the possible sites for Geoparks are the area around the Bako National Park and the Mulu National Park.

“These are some opportunities now for geo-tourism in Sabah and Sarawak. It is on a planning stage,” he disclosed in an interview during his recent visit to Sabah.

He said the only Geopark in Malaysia is at Langkawi, which hosted the fourth European Geoparks Network conference in April last year.

Professor Ross also stated that the regional Asia Pacific Geoparks Network is headed by Professor Datuk Dr Ibrahim Komoo from the University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

According to him, Professor Ibrahim has a lot of knowledge of geopark happenings in China, Vietnam, Australia and Malaysia.

“Since that conference he and a body of people in Malaysia have been looking at other possibilities of Geoparks and Mount Kinabalu regional area is one.”

A Geopark is a nationally protected area containing a number of geological heritage sites of particular importance, rarity or aesthetic appeal. It achieves its goals through a three-pronged approach: conservation, education and geotourism.

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