Sunday, June 16

Orang Utan project at Matang Wildlife Centre earns recognition at award ceremony

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CONGRATULATIONS: Andrew Starbucks (centre) presenting the recognition to Abang Johari (second right). Also seen are (from left) Ik Pahon, Mirza Mohammad and Talib.

KUCHING: The Great Orang Utan Project being run at Matang Wildlife Centre in Kuching has been highly commended in the Best for Responsible Wildlife Experience at World Responsible Tourism Awards 2013.

According to a press release issued by Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) yesterday, the award ceremony was held last weekend at the 2013 World Travel Market (WTM), a leading global event for the travel industry.

At the ceremony, the award was handed over to Minister of Housing and Minister of Tourism Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg by managing director of The Great Projects UK, Andrew Starbucks.

Also present at the ceremony were Assistant Minister of Tourism Datuk Talib Zulpilip, director general of Tourism Malaysia Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab and permanent secretary of Ministry of Tourism Datu Ik Pahon Joyik.

The statement also said the awards are the most prestigious and competitive of their kind in the world and are a collaboration between online travel directory responsibletravel.com and ICRT (International Centre for Responsible Tourism).

The award ceremony took place at the World Travel Market during its dedicated World Responsible Tourism Day which took place on the same time at the event venue supported by prominent mainstream media partners such as Metro and industry broadcasters such as TTG, Green Hotelier and Selling Long Haul.

This year, the award featured eight categories covering a variety of topics which reflect the hottest issue currently debated in the world of responsible and sustainable tourism.

The Great Orang Utan Project in Matang Wildlife Centre that has been highly commended for this category is part of a family of animal protection projects under The Great Projects of UK, the release said.

Marketing manager (Europe International Market) of Sarawak Tourism Board Maurice Balang who represented the board at WTM said: “We are proud of the recognition and hope that the awareness created will encourage more travel towards responsible tourism in Sarawak. We offer a great experience where tourists as part of their travels can help save the Orang Utan species.”

Now in its 10th year, the World Responsible Tourism Awards was founded in 2004 to celebrate the most inspiring stories in responsible tourism.

The overall winner for 2013 was travel company TUI Netherlands for an initiative to fight sex tourism in Brazil.

The winner of the Best Responsible Wildlife Experiences category was Nam Nern Night Safari in Laos that was set up by Wildlife Conservation Society.

It is known for its initiative to support the conservation of tigers and their prey, as well as other wildlife, by placing a monetary value on tigers and other wildlife for local people.

This category is the newest category introduced this year. The past category which reflects the aims of the effort for wildlife is the Best for Marine Environment won by Moonraker Dolphin Swims Australia.

The Great Orang Utan Project was highly commended along with another entry from Belize.