Tourism pioneer wins Hornbill Special Award

Abang Johari (third left) and Abdul Karim (second left) presenting the Hornbill Special Award (Individual) to Philip Yong (third right) as Hii (left) and Snowdan (second right) look on. Photo: Nadim Bokhari

KUCHING: Philip Yong Khi Liang, co-founder and managing director of Borneo Adventure, was awarded the Hornbill Special Award (Individual) during the 8th Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards 2017/2018 – winning him RM10,000, a trophy, and certificate.

The awards ceremony was held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here on Saturday.

Abang Johari (third left) and Abdul Karim (second left) presenting the Hornbill Special Award (Individual) to Philip Yong (third right) as Hii (left) and Snowdan (second right) look on. Photo: Nadim Bokhari

Apart from the Hornbill Special Award (Individual), there were nine other awards categories which were further divided into sub-categories. The winner of each sub-category was presented with RM5,000, a trophy, and certificate.

For the Outstanding Tourist Guide, the award for Region Specific Tourist Guide (RSTG) was won by Cornelia Peter Dien while Park Guide award was won by Alvin Wayne Anggi.

Under the Outstanding Destination Management Company (DMC) category, the Best and Creative Incentive Itinerary sub-category was won by Amogha Tours & Travels Sdn Bhd, Kuching; Most Outstanding DMC (Domestic) won by CPH Travel Agencies (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd, Kuching; and Emerging DMC (Sarawak) was won by Ecogreen Holidays Sdn Bhd, Kuching.

There were five sub-categories under Outstanding Hotel and Accommodations Provider with Mulu Marriot Resort & Spa winning the 5-Star Hotel sub-category.

The 4-Star Hotel category was won by Grand Margherita Hotel, Kuching; 3-Star Hotel (New World Suites, Bintulu); 2-Stars and 1-Star Orchid Rated and Innovative Accommodations won by Inn 86, Bintulu; while Homestay Bario Highland won the Homestay category.

In the Outstanding Tourism Attractions & Events category, the award for Natural Attractions was won by Semenggoh Wildlife Centre Kuching, Man-Made Attractions won by Sibu Central Market, and Visit Sibu Year 2017 winning the Events and Festivals sub-category.

In the Outstanding Media Contribution to the Tourism Industry, Chua Yew Yong and Chong Kho Lee won the Best Tourism News Reporting on Sarawak sub-category, Dinah Samuel won the Best Tourism Feature Writing (Online) Media on Sarawak, and Tan Phek Leng — Best Tourism (Print) articles published on Sarawak.

Zulazhar Sheblee won the Best Tourism Photojournalism and Emily Yii —Best Tourism Related Videos on Sarawak for both Short Promo Video and TV Documentary/TV Magazine Programmes.

The award for Outstanding Shopping Mall went to The Spring Shopping Mall, Kuching.

Under Outstanding Cottage Industry contribution to the tourism industry, the Handicraft Outlet sub-category was won by The Ranee Artisan Gallery, Kuching, and the Handicraft Product sub-category by Bangie Embol (Pua Kumbu).

Philip Yong during an interview after the 8th Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards 2017/2018.

Met by reporters after the awards ceremony, Philip Yong said it was good to be recognised after many years in the tourism industry.

“It is not just me as one person — it is a whole group of people, a team getting involved,” he said, adding that persistence and perseverance were key factors.

“I have been in this industry for more than 32 years and it has been a very interesting experience. I would not trade it for anything in the world,” he commented.

Freelance licensed tourist guide Cornelia who won Region Specific Tourist Guide (RSTG) was speechless on winning the award.

She encouraged the younger generation to be open-minded and to read more books on history and culture of Sarawak, as well as learning from the elders. 

Finalists of all categories in a group photo during the 8th Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards 2017/2018. Photo: Nadim Bokhari