The Kinabalu Park here will be expecting more tourists this year, said Sabah Parks board of trustees chairman Datuk Askalani Abdul Rahim.
"Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Kinabalu Park was a popular destination for tourists from within and outside the country.
"I was made to understand a total 614,797 Malaysians and 134,082 foreigners visited the park before the Covid-19 pandemic, which showed an increase as compared to the year before it.
In fact, tourist arrivals in 2020 were 150,354 and 129,208 in 2021, despite the pandemic," he said during the 58th-year commemoration of the Kinabalu Park gazettement.
His speech was read by the board's deputy chairman Peter Lintar. Present was Sabah Parks director Dr Marklarin Lakim.
Askalani added that Sabah Parks also thanked the state government for the financial support to develop tourism facilities and board members for their commitment to managing the natural resources in the park.
As for the Kinabalu Park achievements, he added that it has become an example of a terrestrial area that is managed and conserved well.
The park contributes about 14 per cent of flora species in Malaysia and 2.5 per cent of flora species in the world.
"(However), there are many issues and challenges that we have to face in managing a park. Among them is to maintain its status recognition as a World Heritage site.
"For 58 years, effective management has been adopted and improved from time to time.
"Apart from nature conservation efforts, the community as a stakeholder is being considered as an important component in park management programmes."
Earlier, Sabah Parks staff and the park stakeholders had taken part in a gotong-royong to get rid of invasive plants such as Dandelion, Balsam, Broadleaf Plaintain, Redflower Ragleaf and Milkwort.
Askalani said that such programmes have become a core focus as those species could affect the park's world recognition status.
Sabah Parks also launched a newly built Search and Rescue building at the park which will be used as a main site to coordinate operations related to climbing, enforcement and community activities.
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