Saturday, October 21, 2017

Borneo Bird Festival 2017 - Birders are big spenders

KOTA KINABALU: Minister of Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said the state’s over-abundance of birds of various species should serve as a platform to boost the state’s economy.

“To date, we have discovered 67 endemic bird species in Borneo. Previously, we had only found 59 species. This shows that there has been an increase of eight new endemic sub-species,” Masidi said in his speech at the Borneo Bird Festival (BBF) 2017 opening ceremony at Imago Mall on Friday.

He added that 14 of those birds were endemic to the Kinabalu Park.

It is understood that the classification of the additional eight species was meant to be a focus for conservation biological diversity, a form of attraction for birders and nature enthusiasts.

According to Kinabatangan-Corridor of Life Tourism Operators Association (Kita), there are over 205, 830 tourists who  visited Kinabatangan in 2015, with a total revenue of more than RM100 million that year.

On average, groups who visit Sabah for birding activities are made up of six to eight persons and their length of stay lasts up to 12 days, Masidi said.

“The average tour price per day is about RM900 (USD 232), per person. If this is multiplied with the average length of stay (12 days), then each birder will spend at least RM10, 800 here.

“This does not even include their stay in the city. Birders are big spenders.

“God has given us the capital (the birds). All we have to do is to preserve these birds and to attract birders and visitors and the money will eventually come. This is the best business deal in the world,” Masid said.