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Abg Jo: A bigger BHPNC next year

July 1, 2013

TOP THREE: AbangJohari (centre, front row), Lo (third from left, front row) and Syafiq (third right, front row) with the top three winning teams in the MPP Chairman Trophy (Open) category. The GGK team of Mohd Azuan Asmuni and Mohd Nazri Ahmad were the champion, followed by Sukan Lasak ATM GGK’s Jusery Gani and Muhaizar Mohamad (second) and Tim’s Fitness’ Guianus Salagan and Yatim Zainal Abidin (third). — Photo by Churchill Edward

PADAWAN: The State Tourism Ministry wants the Borneo Highlands Padawan Nature Challenge (BHPNC) to be a bigger event next year as it is a proven tourism attraction.

The BHPNC can be on par with the Rainforest World Music Fest (RWMF) and the ministry is willing to lend support via fund and advice to the key organiser Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) and their associates and event managers, including Borneo Highland Resorts.

Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg also said major events in Sarawak could help the ministry to achieve the target of 4.2 million tourist arrivals for this year.

The figure is an increase from 3.8 million tourist arrivals in 2011 and four million in 2012, he pointed out.

“The Nature Challenge (BHPNC) has the potential to become a major tourism attraction judging from the increasing number of participants year to year. I am glad to note that the number of participants this year is 350, a marked increase by 100 from 250 in 2012,” he said.

He urged MPP to emphasise more on promoting nature tourism in Padawan starting with Annah Rais village and the Borneo Highlands.

“I think we can achieve our target this year, taking into account that this year is the state’s 50th year anniversary of progress in Malaysia. More is to come next year when we have the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 and Visit Sarawak Year 2014. The Visit Sarawak Year is going to be launched during this coming 50th anniversary celebration (Sept 16),” he added, when closing the BHPNC 2013 event in Borneo Highlands Resorts here yesterday afternoon.

Abang Johari revealed that the BHPNC 2014 will be held on June 22 next year.

“I try to get the budget for MPP for next year’s event so that it can be on par with the Rainforest World Music Fest (RWMF),” he announced while congratulating the organisers, event managers and sponsors for making BHPNC 2013 a success.

He pointed out that Kuching is close to nature and this is all the more reason for them to modernise river transportation, especially on Sungai Sarawak which passes through the city.

“Kuching is a centre of nature and it is similar to a resort city since we have the Sarawak River in the middle and the Matang range at one side and Padawan rangeat the other – all within a 45-minute drive from the city central. There is no other city like this in the world,” he said.

As for MICE (meeting, incentives, conventions and exhibitions), Kuching could provide a venue where convention participants get the chance to choose to travel from their hotels in the city to, for instance the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) , either by road or by river , he said.

“The boats complete with ICT facility and breakfast will be like floating hotels. Such facility will be the only one of its kind in the world. It will be the most unique. Right in Kuching we will have something better to offer,” he stressed.

When met after the prize-giving ceremony, Abang Johari explained that the ministry and organisers have to put in some kind of investment if they want to BHPNC to be held on a grand scale in the years to come.

“The marketing strategy also has to shift a bit, perhaps in the direction of Singapore. I notice that the angling event in Miri managed to attract expatriates from Singapore and Hong Kong. We have to promote the event more aggressively,” he said.

While RWMF provides music, the BHPNC could provide trekking events and nature sight-seeing, he added.

He also said he wanted Borneo Highlands to be a place for people to “re-energise and re-charge” for the sake of healthy living and not only for golf.

Abang Johari, who is Housing Minister and Satok assemblyman, gave away prizes to winners in the Padawan Nature Challenge events yesterday.

Also present during the closing ceremony were MPP chairman Lo Khere Chiang and his secretary Michael Saweng; Borneo Highlands Resort manager Muhammad Syafiq Nair; Mines Wellness Hotel operations manager Zakaria Ismail and CMS Group manager Datuk Richard A J Curtis who is also one of the participants.


(Source: Borneo Post Online, 01 July 2013)