By Rafiq Vayani
DUBAI/KOTA KINABALU: Tourism Malaysia in collaboration with the Malaysian Scuba Diving Association (MSDA) and Sabah Parks launched a new version of the dive sites directory titled Sabah & Labuan 101 Dive Treasures – A Diver’s Ultimate Playground, as part of Tourism Malaysia’s efforts in reinvigorating the diving industry in Sabah and Labuan.
Sabah has been known as one of the popular diving destinations where the world-class diving site Sipadan Island is located. Strategically situated in the Coral Triangle; the global centre of marine biodiversity, Sabah’s underwater attraction is blessed to be part of a rich marine environment that includes the highest diversity of coral reefs in the world. A total of 605 of the 798 types of coral reefs from around the world are found in the Coral Triangle while 15 of those are endemic to the area of the triangle.
Scuba diving in Sabah and Labuan offers a variety of experiences, being surrounded by schools of hammerheads at the pristine coral atoll of Layang-Layang, prancing with turtles and twirling tornadoes of barracudas in Sipadan Island, discovering the weird and delightful world of Sabah’s incredible macro dive sites at the island of Mabul and Kapalai, or be spellbound by the encrusted walls of four Labuan shipwrecks with colourful soft and hard corals, feather stars and anemones where it is also ‘home’ to an incredible variety of fishes, both large and small.
This directory aims to update information about scuba diving locations and operators in Sabah and Labuan, opening new doors for a promising, one-of-a-kind divingadventure. Several diving destinations have been added to the new brochure, namely Selakan Island, Sepanggar Island, Timba-Timba Island, Lahad Datu, Kota Belud, as well as newly found Vernon Banks in Labuan, all of which hold tremendous potential for underwater tourism. Apart from listing Sabah’s many dive sites, the brochure also provides a directory of dive operators, resorts, and a map of diving locations in Sabah and Labuan.
The event was officiated by Mr Iskandar Mirza Mohd Yusof, the Deputy Director General (Planning) of Tourism Malaysia. Also present were Ms Noredah Othman, Chief Executive Officer of Sabah Tourism Board; Dr Maklarin Bin Lakim, Director of Sabah Parks; Ms Ednie Rahma Ab Rahim, Director of Tourism Malaysia Sabah, other Government Officials and local tourism players.
According to Mr Iskandar, the launch of the updated brochure is aimed to encourage and attract diving enthusiasts to choose Sabah and Labuan as the preferred diving destinations in Malaysia and regarded it as a timely move as divers are seeking to rediscover the underwater paradise and explore new diving sites after being confined at home for two years due to pandemic. “I hope this brochure will help promote Sabah and Labuan’s many diving attractions such as Blue Ring Reef in Lahad Datu, Shipwrecks in Labuan, and Selakan Island, to name a few. These dive sites offer amazing, rich marine life and unparalleled fascinating opportunities for exploration,” said Mr Iskandar.
Information on Sabah and Labuan dive operators as well as resorts can be viewed and downloaded via the QR code featured in the brochure. “Sabah & Labuan 101 Dive Treasures” – A Diver’s Ultimate Playground brochure can also be accessed at www.malaysia.travel and on Tourism Malaysia Sabah’s social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram.