State Youth and Sports Assistant Minister Datuk Jahid Jahim said: “Once the sport takes off, it will benefit the local community in job and business opportunities, besides boosting Sabah’s tourism industry.”
Jahid, who is also Tamparuli assemblyman, said the area had high potential for paragliding activities.
“This is good for Tamparuli as the sport will benefit locals,” he said after launching the event here recently.
Also present was Korean Paragliding Association president Kim Dong Sul, had been here several times to conduct trial runs for the paragliding activities.
The activities are operated by Borneo Air Sport Ozone Adventures, with the takeoff on the 1,000m Bukit Ruhiang, while the flat land beside Tamparuli Cultural House near the town has been marked out as the landing site.
“I was informed that there are about 250,000 paragliders in South Korea and about six million worldwide.
“If we can get just 10,000 of them to come to Sabah, it will be a shot in the arm for tourism here,” Jahid noted.
He said there were plans to promote activities such as white-water rafting to tap the sub-district’s potential as a tourism site.
To a question on infrastructural development, Jahid said that paragliding required minimal costs while providing maximum impact in terms of tourism to the local economy.
He expressed confidence in the sport as youths craved for challenges and an adrenalin rush.
Meanwhile, Kim said that Sabah had suitable hills and mountains like Bukit Ruhiang for paragliding.
Borneo Air Sport Ozone Adventures chief operations manager Bruce Patrick Soimil, who has known Kim for three years, hoped to bring international paragliding competitions to Tamparuli next year.
Meanwhile, Sungai Kiulu in the district is gaining attention as a tourism destination because of its crystal clear water and rapids, making it suitable for extreme sports.
The Kiulu 4M Challenge is held here every year with participants from all over Malaysia converging to watch or participate in activities like running, bamboo-rafting, swimming with bamboo and walking on bamboo stilts.
Due to the encouraging response, the Sabah government has listed the event in the state tourism calendar and put Kiulu on the world tourism map.
Source : STAR
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