London, Nov 7: In a momentous event at the World Travel Market 2023 held at London’s Excel, Sabah proudly unveiled the Kinabalu UNESCO Global Geopark, a treasure trove of stunning landscapes, rich biodiversity, and geological wonders. Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, representing the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Environment, described this achievement as incredibly significant for Sabah, as it became the third location in the world, after China and Korea, to attain the prestigious triple crown status.
Sabah already boasts two other UNESCO “crowns,” including the Kinabalu Park, designated a World Heritage Site in December 2000, and the UNESCO Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve, declared in June 2014. With this announcement, the global network of UNESCO Global Geoparks has grown to 195 sites across 48 countries, further solidifying Kinabalu Park’s place among the world’s most extraordinary natural and cultural wonders.
“It is important to note that Sabah Parks plays a crucial role in the protection, management, and promotion of the geological heritage within the Kinabalu Geopark,” Bangkuai emphasized.
“This involves making these unique geological assets accessible to the public and ensuring long-term conservation while actively contributing to the pursuit of UNESCO Global Geopark status.
“This recognition underscores Sabah’s unwavering commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable tourism practices.”
Bangkuai went on to say, “Sabah is not just a destination but a pledge to preserve the planet’s natural wonders for future generations.”
The Kinabalu UNESCO Global Geopark covers a vast area of 4,750 square kilometres and spans three districts: Ranau, Kota Marudu, and Kota Belud.
It is also home to numerous rural villages that play a paramount role in preserving the region’s unique culture and heritage.
With this UNESCO recognition, the Sabah state government hopes to empower these rural communities by involving them in both conservation and the tourism industry.
“The World Travel Market 2023 is a significant moment for Sabah. It’s our chance to showcase our latest UNESCO crown jewel to the world, emphasizing its incredible geology, ecosystems, local communities, and the conservation work that earned it UNESCO recognition,” Bangkuai added.
Key Highlights of the Kinabalu UNESCO Global Geopark:
- Geological Marvels: Kinabalu Park boasts unique geological formations, some dating back millions of years. Visitors will be captivated by stunning rock formations, caves, and intriguing landscapes.
- Biodiversity: The geopark is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, some of which are endemic to the region. It’s a haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.
- Cultural Richness: Indigenous communities, with their vibrant cultures and traditions, coexist harmoniously within the geopark. Visitors can engage with these communities and learn about their way of life.
- Sustainable Tourism: The Kinabalu UNESCO Global Geopark exemplifies sustainable tourism practices, ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy and learn from this unique site.
In addition to introducing the Kinabalu UNESCO Global Geopark, Bangkuai also launched a bird guidebook by Sabah’s Wong Tsu Shi, titled “A Naturalist’s Guide to Borneo’s Birds (4th edition).”
This concise yet thorough guide provides insights into 280 bird species, the region’s geography, climate, and top bird-watching spots.
It also includes an updated checklist for avid birdwatchers.
The 4th edition features new species accounts and captivating photos, making it a must-have for bird enthusiasts, both experienced and beginners, eager to explore Borneo’s remarkable birdlife.
Sabah Tourism Board encourages attendees at the World Travel Market 2023 to visit the Sabah stand, S9-420, to learn more about the Kinabalu UNESCO Global Geopark and discover Sabah’s natural and cultural wonders.
For more information about the Kinabalu UNESCO Global Geopark, its UNESCO designations, or the Sabah Tourism Board’s participation in World Travel Market 2023, please visit www.sabahtourism.com.
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