YTL Hotels, has a long term vision, to make a positive difference to the environment where its expanding collection of hotels and resorts are located. When Gaya Island Resort opened its doors back in July 2012, it marked the beginning of its marine conservation journey in Borneo. As part of this wonderful journey, Gaya Island Resort recently held the official launch of its Marine Centre. The event was graced by, YB Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment of Sabah. In conjunction with the marine centre launch, Datuk Masidi Manjun released a rehabilitated sea turtle named Bobby, into the sea.
The Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre advocates three conservation pillars, Turtle Rescue, Coral Reef Restoration and Conservation Through Education. Scott Mayback, the Resident Marine Biologist, is the person charged with conceptualising and implementing the programmes. Originally from the USA, Scott has spent the last four years in Sabah to experience first hand all about coral reef restoration and turtle rehabilitation. He has also gotten off the beaten path and surveyed reefs from Kota Kinabalu to Pulau Banggi, an island off the Tip of Borneo. As the Resident Marine Biologist, Scott oversees all aquatic operations and activities at Gaya Island Resort. He also has the incredibly important responsibility of coral planting, coral reef rehabilitation, whilst educating guests on marine life and the various ways to preserve a healthy ecological environment.
Malaysia is blessed with some of the most incredible marine life on the planet, like many places around the world, preserving it is a constant battle against both man made and natural forces. YTL Hotels is a company making a significant and successful effort in helping to educate and preserve nature, both land and marine based. If you happen to stay at one of the YTL Resorts, you will often find a resident naturalist. These people are extraordinarily knowledgeable and passionate about the preservation of nature, having witnessed this first hand and spent many hours with the naturalists at different resorts, I can wholeheartedly attest to the commitment and will of these people.
Gaya Island Resort sits within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park located off the coast of Kota Kinabalu in Borneo, the 121 villa resort rests along the coast of Malohom Bay, a natural sanctuary nestled in the hillside of an ancient rainforest, boasting a stunning outline of Mount Kinabalu on the horizon. Even though the resort is located in an area where human activities have already been restricted, it has always aspired to embrace a proactive role in embarking on conservation programmes to better protect marine life and raise awareness for sustainable seafood choices.
By Paul Godbold