KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will further reinforce its reputation as a preferred meeting, incentive, convention, and exhibition (MICE) destination when the state plays host to the Asia Dive Expo (Adex) Ocean Partnership Summit later this year.
This will also enable the state to solidify its position as a destination promoting marine conservation initiatives and sustainable diving tourism.
The summit, which is scheduled here from Aug 18 to 20, follows the Asian Dive Expo that is taking place at Singapore’s Sands Expo and Convention Centre from March 31 to April 2.
Sabah Tourism, Culture, and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, who is also Sabah Tourism Board chairman, attended the opening of Singapore Adex and also launched Sabah Adex Ocean Partnership Summit 2023.
Present were Adex chief executive officer John Thet, Sabah Tourism Board chief executive officer Noredah Othman, Malaysia dive icon and Adex diving ambassador Clement Lee and Sabah Adex team head Theresa Tham.
Organised in partnership with the Sabah Tourism Board, the summit will be held at the Sabah International Convention Centre here from Aug 18 to 20.
“Sabah is already a popular diving destination and we are committed to the conservation and preservation of our marine ecosystem,” said Bangkuai in a statement on Friday (March 31).
“This exciting event will support the Sabah government's ongoing initiatives in ocean conservation and sustainable development.
“The state government has put in place a range of initiatives to protect the marine environment, including marine parks and sanctuaries, strict regulations on fishing and diving, and education programmes to raise awareness about marine conservation.
“We look forward to welcoming the global ocean community, renowned speakers, professional diving fraternity and attendees, in general, to build a network while sharing ideas and knowledge on the best practice adaptation for the ocean,” he said, adding the event will also bolster the state’s diving industry.
While actively pushing Sabah as a preferred travel destination, Bangkuai said that the Sabah Tourism Board was also shifting its focus to promoting specialised and high-end tourism activities.
This included scuba diving given that the state has a strong network of professional dive operators offering world-class diving services.
He also highlighted Sabah’s capacity for hosting significant events and expressed hope to see Sabah host its very own dive expo in light of the fact that many divers consider the state to be a must-dive spot.
Additionally, he said the Sabah Adex Ocean Partnership Summit provides an excellent platform to showcase not only Sabah’s rich marine biodiversity, but also its cultural diversity, giving visitors a chance to experience local culture and cuisine while also taking advantage of diving opportunities.
Based on statistics, Sabah recorded 61,796 divers in 2022, bringing in an estimated RM222.8mil in revenue.
The figure comprises 6,411 international divers and 55,384 domestic divers.
In 2019, Sabah registered 130,604 international divers and 7,145 domestic divers, with a total revenue of RM821mil.