KOTA KINABALU May 4, 2012: A post-mortem on the just concluded Tour of Borneo 2012 (TOB 2012) will be carried out, organising chairman Datuk Fredie Sua said.
This is to enable the organisers to find out the weaknesses and improve on them for future events, he said when contacted for his response on complaints from several quarters, including the tourism players about the road closure for the race route.
Fredie also apologized to the public for the inconvenience caused by road closures during the race which started April 27 in Semporna and ended on May 1 at Dataran Bandaraya here.
“I apologise on behalf of the race organisers and we will be conducting a post-mortem on the event. We will do our best to improve for future events,” he said.
Fredie however pointed out that the race organisers have no power over the closure of roads as it is managed by the police.
“It is the police’s decision on how to manage the road closure and they have conducted a proper recce on how to control the traffic flow on race day as they want to have the best system on that day,” he explained.
“We only gave them the route approved by International Cycling Union (UCI) but on race day, the route was based on police recommendation. This was not only for the leg in Kota Kinabalu but throughout the race.
“Of course there are advantages and disadvantages of holding such an event anywhere in the world. One of the problems we encountered is that we do not have an alternative route as the Pan-highway is the only highway in Kota Kinabalu,” he pointed out.
On Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) chairman KL Tan’s complaints that the event had affected tourism in the state, Fredie stressed that the announcement about the race had been done through the media since late last year.
“I take it that they didn’t really bother to find out what it was all about because nobody expected that such an event could be held in Sabah. They must also remember that there are lots of events happening in Sabah starting from the end of April to the end of May.
“Even Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, during the launching of the TOB theme song, pointed out that during the race period, there are other ongoing events such as the Regatta Lepa Lepa, Sabah Fest and Borneo Marathon,” he said.
Coincidentally, on Tuesday morning, Tourism Malaysia also launched its ‘Cuti Cuti 1Malaysia’ cycling packages at the same venue, Dataran Bandaraya.
Tan was reported to have said on Wednesday that the insensitivity of the organisers was a shame as the lack of communication of road closures had caused inconvenience and discomfort to tourists and loss of revenue to tour operators.
“Tour operators are adversely affected due to cancellation of tours to Kinabalu Park, City Tour and causing tourists to be stranded for hours. Some have missed their flights. Tour operators have also given refunds to tourists for the Kinabalu Park/Poring Hot Spring excursion,” he said in his Facebook.
TOB is sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and is listed in UCI Asian Tour calendar. It is hoped to promote Sabah as the ultimate sports tourism destination in Malaysia, and promote cycling in the state.
Twenty professional teams consisting of continental, national and club teams took part in the event which covered a total distance of 758.4 kilometers, starting from Semporna and passing through pictureque locations of Tawau, Lahad Datu, Sandakan, Sepilok, Kundasang and ended in Kota Kinabalu.
by Nancy Lai
MATTA Sabah chairman KL Tan had raised good points which the Tour of Borneo 2012 organisers should consider if ever they wanted to continue organising the race.
The minister was of the opinion that logistics issues were not properly taken into consideration by the organisers in their haste to stage the race.
“Sabah does not have good network of roads partly due to our geographical terrain and there is only one major road that links Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu via Kundasang.
“If it is closed for even a few hours, there is bound to be severe implications on regular road users as many sectors are bound to be affected because the road is a crucial economic and community life-line for thousands of people,”
a good lesson had been learnt from the just concluded Tour of Borneo which should be taken into account by the organisers for future events.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun