Thursday, April 28, 2016

How Can Planting a Tree Save an Orangutan?


How can planting a tree save an orangutan?

That is the same question we asked our friends at Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) when we heard about their Tree Planting Project—and the answer will amaze you.

Below is a great explanation from Barbara Bichler, director of School Projects for BOS in Germany:

Located in the Indonesian part of central Borneo, Mawas is an area of 309,000 hectares—twice the size of greater London.

More than 80% of it is covered by tropical peatland forest, which, built through thousands of years, is among the oldest forests in the world and serves as a massive carbon sink.

Its value for biological balance is immense.

The Mawas region is home to approximately 3,000 wild orangutans—one of the largest populations in the world.

The area is actually named after the primates, since Mawas literally means orangutan in the indigenous language.

In order to create space for rice plantations, parts of this area were deforested and drained of water.

Many trees were logged and irrigation canals built before it was realized that this area was not suitable for planting rice at all.

The result was devastating. The peatland became both drought-prone and flood-prone.

The “One Million Hectare Rice Barn” ended up becoming a barn of problems.

BOS Germany is working on a large-scale rain forest replantation project in order to re-establish Mawas’ lost nature.

The entire area is divided into five territories.

One of them is Rantau Upak, an area of 1,000 hectares, which suffered a lot from drainage, illegal deforestation, and forest fires.

To rebuild the forest, canals need to be blocked.

This will allow the swamp to be rehydrated, enabling the forest to grow again.

A hundred hectares of land are to be replanted, and four local villages have collected seeds and cultivated seedlings to be planted in the wet peat.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: How Can Planting a Tree Save an Orangutan?
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Villages in Sarawak urged to incorporate homestay for tourists


KUCHING: Every village in the state should consider the idea of homestays to boost their income, said Tourism and Culture Minister Dato Seri Mohammed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

“I encourage every village to take advantage of homestays, which is a draw among foreign tourists. Tourists prefer homestay experience where they can enjoy local cultures and daily lifestyle of the people.

“Villagers do not even have to change their lifestyle beyond their daily routine. They only have to continue doing what they do, such as fishing or farming. Tourists come to these homestays to experience this kind of daily living. In return, the villagers get to earn income from the homestays.

“In our ministry, we have one unit dedicated to helping people plan for successful homestays. We also have soft loans for those who need to restore or renovate old village house or longhouse for homestay use,” he said at the Satok Majlis Pemimpin Bersama Rakyat at Dewan Datu SK Merpati Jepang on Monday night.

Nazri unexpectedly turned up at the event hosted by PBB Satok branch to rally support for BN incumbent Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Nazri said Abang Johari is a close ally since he became the Sarawak Tourism Minister.

“I never miss visiting Satok every time there is a Sarawak state election. Abang Johari is a close friend and colleague of mine.

“The Borneo states are important icons for our country, wherever I go promoting tourism overseas as the Tourism and Culture Minister. The tourism industry in Sarawak and Sabah are strong because of their leaders who ensure development does not erode the natural environment and cultures of their people,” he said.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Travel Malaysia Fair ends on a promising note for Sarawak Tourism


Travel Malaysia Fair (TMF) 2016 held at Changi Expo and Convention Centre here closed its curtain late Sunday evening, leaving Sarawak travel operators, hoteliers and product suppliers hopeful of more tourists being brought into the state from Singapore.

“It was a good outing with promising returns and we are glad our partners are looking for better days ahead,” said Sarawak Tourism Board’s (STB) marketing manager Gustino Basuan in a press statement yesterday.

A total of 21 Sarawak agents, hoteliers and product and homestay owners attended the three-day fair selling Sarawak product experience packages to Singaporeans.

STB’s participation in the fair included the launch of the first leg of the Sarawak marketing campaign by Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, and the Board’s chief executive officer Datu Ik Pahon on behalf of Tourism Minister Datu Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg on Friday.

At the TMF 2016, STB featured the launch of the public bus wrap advertisement on SBS transit buses, three stage shows held daily to highlight Sarawak cultural presentation, Sarawak artisans and crafters demonstrating traditional weaving, basketry, bead-making, and bringing their products for sale to Singaporeans.

The fair also featured a daily Sarawak destination product workshop while business-to-business sessions were conducted on Friday afternoon.

Reaping benefits from the campaign, managing director of Amogha Tours and Travel, Capt (Rtd) Narayanan Kanan said the three-day outing had been fruitful for him.

“The business session has resulted in the confirmation of four groups of 60 tourists from Singapore,” he said, looking forward to seven to 10 promising deals secured with new found partners at the meeting.

Though new in the market place, Narayanan hopes to get in touch with fellow Indian agents based in Singapore, and be a partner in their business that taps into Singapore as a hub bringing tourists from India to Singapore and extension of their packages to Sarawak.

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Huge influx of Chinese tourists to Labuan in July


LABUAN: Labuan will be flooded with the influx of Chinese tourists beginning July.

At least some 2,000 Chinese tourist arrivals per week and 8,000 per month from the country’s six major cities are expected to flock to the duty-free island and this will continue until December this year.

Labuan Member of Parliament Datuk Rozman Isli said the influx of the long-awaited Chinese arrivals with greater purchasing power would kick-start the island’s tourism industry and its economic base transformation.

“With everything in place, we expect the first flight carrying at least 146 to 160 Chinese tourists will arrive here on July 15 and this will continue until year-end,” he said at two business events — Engagement Session with Tourism Industry Players and launching of the 19th Malaysian Malay Chamber of Commerce Labuan Annual General Meeting here.

He said a Kuala Lumpur-based tour agent in collaboration with its Chinese counterpart had chosen Labuan for the huge influx of Chinese tourists and this augured well for the island’s tourism industry.

Rozman, who is also Labuan Corporation chairman, said the local authority had been preparing to welcome the Chinese tourist arrivals with improved facilities at its existing islands and attraction spots.

“Two months to go to prepare for the influx of the Chinese tourists, in terms of adequate accommodation in hotels, and cleanliness and hygiene in restaurants as well as security,” he said.

He said the China-based tour agent will be visiting the island on May 2 to witness first hand the island’s tourist attractions and facilities.

“Therefore, industry players, hoteliers, eateries and businesses must help in giving better first impression to the tour agents and the tourists,” he said.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Ailing Oil and Gas industry forces Labuan to push tourism


LABUAN: The island tourism players must take the lead now in reviving Labuan’s ailing economy following the slump in the oil and gas industry.

Labuan MP Datuk Rozman Datuk Isli said the tourism industry must find ways on how to generate revenue for the island.

“Tourism has been playing second fiddle after the oil and gas industry. And with the drop in the world oil prices, we have to relook the tourism industry,” he said during an engagement session with Tourism and Culture ministry and tourism players here on Saturday.

Rozman who is also the Labuan Corporation chairman said the oil and gas industry has been the main economic driver of the island all these years and no one expected that the industry would fail this time around.

“We are facing a crisis on the island as businesses are failing and the number of visitors and employees are dropping,” he said.

He said the time has come for tourism operators to pull up their socks and work for the good of the future of Labuan.

He added that the oil and gas industry has been crippled and it would take time for the industry for pick up again.

“We must save the economy of Labuan and the tourism industry is the next best thing that we have,” he pleaded. According to Rozman, tourist arrival has dropped by 2.6 per cent from 1.04 million in 2014 to 1.02 million visitors.

He also said that his office has forward a proposal to the Prime Minister to step up tourism activities in Labuan.

“Our Prime Minister has directed the tourism ministry to take the necessary actions to help Labuan in the tourism industry,” he added.

The engagement session, Rozman said, was among the initiatives to improve the tourism industry.

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