KUCHING, 30 September 2019: Malaysia has been selected as an Important Bird Area (IBA), Tourism Malaysia, deputy director-general Zulkifly Md Said told the Bernama news agency.
He said nearly 12,000 sites in 218 countries have now been identified as IBAs based on the presence of species that are of worldwide conservation concern.
“In our bid to promote and create awareness on Malaysia as a bird-watching paradise, we will continue to participate in International Bird Fairs and also provide the necessary support to highlight bird-related events around Malaysia,” he said to mark the launch of www.birdsmalaysia.my website in Kuching at the weekend.
Zulkifly said Malaysia has great potential to develop itself as the ultimate bird watching paradise because of the diversity of bird species and locations.
Malaysia has over 795 bird species, of which nearly 60% are in Pahang and Langkawi Island.
Specialised bird watching tours are gaining in popularity, especially in Southeast Asia.
Sarawak is also considered an important state for bird watching trips with specialised tours organised in Singapore.
“The climate and habitat types are among factors which contribute to this region being extremely rich in birds and biodiversity,” he said adding that ecotourism especially bird watching and bird photography tours will attract more tourists to Malaysia.
From January until June this year, tourist arrivals recorded reached 13.35 million, a growth of 4.9% over the corresponding period last year, contributing MYR 41.69 billion in foreign exchange earnings during the first half of 2019.