Welcome to this our second edition of the Mataking Island Newsletter for 2011!
Since our last newsletter in February, it has been a total hive of activity at the resort yet again as we have been gearing up for the peak season ahead and been busy making your resort bigger and better.
Professionalism has been the name of the game in this quarter as we have commenced our unique EFL English training with our front-line staff as well as beginning a full scale reef restoration and rejuvenation project on our House Reef.
The highlight of this quarter was of course our now internationally acclaimed Reef Day which was a bumper success this year—the biggest and best ever.
This quarter we are also proud to announce that we have been the first resort in the area to introduce a full a la carte breakfast service at the resort. In essence, this means that you can chose between American, continental or Malay breakfast and have them cooked fresh for you personally every morning.
Also this quarter we completed our new wedding chapel at the far Eastern end of the island, overlooking the blue-lagoon which hosted our very first wedding for the year, which was combined with a most unique underwater wedding at the same time!
On the diving side, we have again experienced some of the best visibility of the year in May, with over 60m visibility in places and with turtle season now in full swing, so it’s been as busy underwater as it has been on the surface.
As we have improved out standards, we have also improved our service, and now with over 120 staff working at the resort, the level of service you will receive at the resort is some of the best in Sabah. Read more inside this issue about our awards and recognitions in this field…
So, enjoy this issue and simply soak-up some of the great stuff that is going on right now and what’s coming next around the corner!
Our turtle season usually doesn't start until around the middle of May each year, but this year the mummy and daddy turtles got busy a lot earlier it seems!
By the end of April this year we had over 13 nests already in the larger of our two hatcheries of both Green and Hawksbill turtles which has definatley kept our Turtle Patrol teams busy.
Chief Sabre who heads up our turtle teams said, “We seemed to go through a period of over a week where every night we were seeing turtles coming up onto the beaches to lay their eggs, sometimes two at a time!”
The eggs which are then carefully transported to our hatchery monitoring station usually hatch within 45-60 days, and in fact just a few days ago we had over 150 new babies born and released.
Good luck in your travels babies!
With already a firm-foothold in the local Asian market, over 2 years ago we began our marketing expansion plans into Europe, and as such our numbers of guests from both the UK and central Europe has increased.
Whilst some of our staff already speak good English, it became clear that we needed to improve the spoken and written skills of some of our frontline staff.
We are therefore really proud to announce that we have now qualified 9 of our staff in Service Level 1 EFL (English as a Foreign language).
One of our students, Erwan from the Food and Beverage Department said, “This course was really hard work, but I loved it. I am really looking forward now to starting Level 2 in September”
May was an exciting month for the resort as we received 2 great pieces of news.
The first was that we had been nominated by one of our guests for the Best Nature Lodge award for 2011 by Sabah Tourism.
Competition will be fierce with other resorts, but we are confident that our products and services that we deliver are some of the best in the Sabah area.
The other really exciting piece of news (strangely received on the same day) was that the world famous travel site “Trip Advisor” has just awarded us an International Certificate of Excellence for our services in 2011.
Executive Director, Mdm. Sophia Sie said, “we are honored to have been nominated for the Sabah Tourism award and thrilled that the achievements of our management and staff have been recognised. It just goes to prove “Mataking Boleh!”
Well done to all of the teams!
Service delivery is very important to us here as our past and present guests know only to well, and so it is with great pleasure that we announce our newest team members, Kee and Justin.
Kee is our newest addition to the family who is with us for a 10 week Marine Biology internship from our long-term partners at the University of Malaysia (Sabah).
Aged 23, Kee is to learn about our expanding Turtle Hatchery project and will be pivotal in driving the Marine Biolgy unit forwards over the coming weeks.
Our other new team member is Justin, our Chinese speaking Divemaster from West Malaysia,
Clearly settling-in well, Justin is an experienced DM with a passion for the acquatic world and is already finding himself as a requested guide by our Chinese guests.
Good lucks guys and welcome to our Mataking family!
March was a month of exciting travel promotion for the resort as in just 4 weeks, we attended trade shows in China, Berlin and the UK yet again.
The tour started with China, as we attended a regionally important event in Shanghai where some great sales were made as well as attending a locally arranged dive conference.
We then went from China into Berlin where we attended for the second year running the ITB Trade Fayre in Berlin. This was a great event where again we made some valuable contacts with international agents and journalists. The tour then moved to London where we again took centre stage at LIDS (London’s International Dive Show).
We met some great friends here, such as the Holdstock clan (pictured ) and some new guests, Adrian and Sue Watts and Dan and Becky Holmes who have since visited the resort and fallen in love with the island.
Next-up will be our attendance at the Birmingham Dive Show in the UK this October, so if you are in the Birmingham area in October, pop along and see Tom and Graham who will be ion the Tourism Malaysia stand.
One of the fiercest competitions that we have ever run came to a close in April as we selected the winner of the 2011 Mataking Photo Challenge.
After much deliberation, the panel of judges decided upon “Scuba Babes” by Melvin Lee (pictured left).
Melvin wins a 4D/3N complimentary divers package at the resort.
A close runner-up was “Looking Out from Mataking” by Prangmanee Suthonthanyakorn from Thailand (pictured right)
It was a really hard decision for our Board of Directors who had 150 great photos to chose from, many of which will be used on the new Mataking Island postcards soon to be developed.
Well done to all who contributed!
Although our house reef is a thriving city of marine life big and small, we are always looking at ways to improve our natural assets under the waves.
Building on our 2004 successes of the Reef Ball project we are about to launch the 1st phase of a 3 phase project at the resort which is set to not only attract more fish to the reef but also enhance the growth of our corals in the area.
This phase is to include the submersion of 8 new giant Belian pyramids which are set to act as a great shelter for our aquatic friends, whilst the new coral tents (a design borrowed from an Egyptian Professor) are set to act as a new nursery for our hard corals.
Project Leader and Dive Centre Manager Neo said, “This is a really time and financially expensive project, but I am confident that it will be as successful as our previous Reef Ball project and will add to the great developments that we are now seeing at our other sites such as the Mermaid”
The comments that we receive from our valued customers are very important to us here, as it allows us to make the improvements that YOU want to see at the resort.
Here are a few examples of what YOU said and what WE did…
“When it’s raining or a bit overcast, what extra facilities cay you get to stop the kids (especially) from getting bored?”
“We know that this can be a challenge and so we have done is installed a Nintendo Wii computer console into the Gekko Lounge Bar and a selection of Board Games for both the young and old to enjoy. Combined with the existing pool table, karaoke machine and darts bored there is no reason for the kids (or you) to be bored again!”
“If there is a big group of us and we want to try scuba-diving out, but have never tried it before, what kind of package deals can you do?”
“For groups of guests (of 4 or more) we are now offering a huge 10% off all Discover Dive Packages that can attract a saving of up to RM150 per group!
At my last holiday away, I forgot my dive computer which was really troublesome when I got to the resort. Can I hire a computer at your resort?
“This is a great idea and as such we now have 5 Mares Dive Computers for hire here at the resort which are also Nitrox compatible so there is never any excuse for missing that Mataking dive again!”
Take care of yourselves for now and we look forward to our next edition in September 2011
UNTIL NEXT TIME… CIAO!!!