Resort spearheads conservation on island

KOTA KINABALU: Bungaraya Island Resort on Gaya Island seeks to continue to collaborate with Sabah Parks in its efforts to preserve and conserve the natural wonders of the state.

“We work really closely with Sabah Parks in terms of conservation. So, we actually look after the island. When we were building the resort, all of the trees were not cut down.

“This is one of the collaborations that we have done with Sabah Parks,” resort owner Gillian Tan told reporters during an appreciation luncheon with media members and tour agents at the resort’s newly-furbished Pantai Restaurant and Bar, yesterday.

She said 15 of the resort’s staff had been designated by Sabah Parks as its official wardens and that their job is to look after the island.

Apart from that, Bungaraya has also been working very closely with Sabah Parks to eradicate fish bombing activities across Gaya Island.

“As a result from our cooperation with Sabah Parks, the number of fish bombing activities from this area has decreased significantly,” she said, adding that Bungaraya had been collaborating with Sabah Parks since the inception of the resort.

On a separate note, Gillian said the tourism industry had been somewhat slow in the past few years. However, she was pleased that 2017 had been a good year for her resort.

“I hope 2018 will be a good year for us. As I have mentioned, the tourism industry is coming back slowly,” she said.

Since most of the hotels and resorts in the state rely on expatriates to hold important positions, Bunga Raya seeks to be different as it has opted to employ more locals in its effort to showcase the plethora of local talents.

“The hotel industry in the state had been pretty much expat driven. We are one of the few companies with only two expat general managers. The rest of our staff are all young locals.

“Thus, this year, we hope to showcase more  local talents to the world,” said Gillian.

The Pantai Restaurant began as a humble grill built to accommodate the beach-side diners. However, its popularity has seen it grow into a multi-tiered establishment that can fit up to 100 diners.

“With wide sweeping views of the bay, the Pantai Restaurant houses a bar, lounge and dining area, making it a trendy option for small functions, intimate dinners and lunches alike.

“It features a brand new menu with hand-crafted creations assembled by Head Chef Lung, under the mentorship of renowned culinary consultant Chef Josef Friedrich Budde. The menu showcases western styled dishes with a distinct Asian touch,” Gillian said.

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