State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun officially launched the event, being organised by the Sabah Dragon, Unicorn and Lion Dance Association, at a hotel, here, Saturday.
Commending the organiser for the initiative to organise the event, Masidi said the State Government welcomed the organising of this biennial event which can assist in luring more tourists from China.
Masidi shared the aspiration of the organiser to make the event one of the pulling factors for the Chinese community outside the State to come to Sabah and watch it, apart from taking part in the championship.
"This is in line with the State's anticipation to receive 3.4 million tourists this year," he said, adding that some 204,129 visitors from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, visited the State between January and July last year, compared to 110,235 for the same period in 2012.
"I anticipate this year there will be more tourists from China, thanks to the direct flights from Kota Kinabalu to the various cities in ChinaÉand this event would definitely assist us in achieving the set target," he said.
According to Masidi, the organising of this event also showed the State Government is indeed very concerned about the Chinese community and respects their culture and their important role in the community.
"The dragon and lion dance, I believe, has become the symbol of the Chinese community and contributed to the colourful culture of the people of Sabah, in particular, and Malaysia, as a whole," said Masidi.
"Let us hope that this is not going to be the first and the last world luminous dragon dance competition in Sabah, but a prelude to many more interesting and spectacular events to come."
"I am optimistic that this event will put Sabah on the map as a world-class organiser of luminous dragon dance championship.
And, with good and wide publicity, also through the Internet and social media, I believe this event could be yet another attraction to lure visitors to Sabah, especially those who appreciate the art of the Chinese dragon dance," he said.
During the launching, Masidi and those present were also entertained by a luminous dragon performance.