KOTA KINABALU: The launch of British naturalist Sir David Attenborough’s documentary film Conquest of the Skies will bring Sabah tourism to greater heights, said state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.
He said the documentary would boost Sabah as an eco-tourism destination and create more spin-off jobs for the local tourism industry.
Attenborough’s documentary, which debuted on New Year’s Day, shows a variety of insects and animals with bones that have evolved to fly.
One segment of the documentary shows, among others, flying reptiles such as frogs and snakes in Borneo.
The film also analyses gliding reptiles, parachuting mammals, acrobatic insects and the exquisite and intricate aerial world of birds on location at a number of locations all over the world.
Masidi said the state government was also expecting a larger number of Australian and British war veterans to visit Sabah to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
In his New Year’s message in the Sabah tourism magazine, Masidi said many visitors came to Sabah to see nature.
He added that the state would create more policies to protect and promote conservation.
The state plans to gazette the Tun Mustapha Marine Park – an area covering 1.02 million hectares that has more than 50 islands and islets located across the Kudat, Pitas and Kota Marudu districts – in the Kudat-Banggi Priority Conservation Area this year.
The state tourism industry faced a stiff challenge last year in the aftermath of three cross-border kidnapping cases, as well as the March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
Masidi said the Sabah government was working to strengthen air connectivity by working together with airline partners.
“We want to promote Sabah to tourists from China, South Korea and Japan.
“At present, we have 141 scheduled flights coming in from 17 international destinations that fly into Kota Kinabalu, which makes up a total seat capacity of 22,592 passengers weekly.
“We want to focus on our reach to tourists from eastern Russia and the west coast of the United States,” Masidi said.