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'Leaders In Destinations' at Belum Eco Resort

On its way to become a 'Leader in Destinations,' Belum Eco Resort is doing its best in incorporating responsible tourism principles into their operations and developing a sustainable practice at a destination that is environmentally fragile. MELISSA CORNEJO provides an insight into the training workshop conducted for Belum Eco Resort.

  - Written by Melissa Cornejo on 6 Aug 2010

Wild Asia recently conducted a "Leaders in Destinations" (LID) training workshop for the management and staff of Belum Eco Resort (formally known as Tasik Temenggor Discovery Island) in Lake Temenggor, Perak, adjacent to the famous Royal Belum State Park.

The workshop is crafted specially for tourism professionals and practitioners who seek to understand and incorporate sustainable practices in their operations. Through a showcase of best practices in Asia and using innovative training methods, the workshop aims to demonstrate that there are real incentives in operating sustainably.

LID training aims to create role models in various destinations in hope that it will inspire others to follow. Wild Asia works with a wide range of tourism practitioners, from large entities to small homestay operators, and finds that it is significant to work with these dynamic partners in order to increase awareness and understanding on responsible tourism, thus creating leaders in destinations that truly make a difference.

Wild Asia met with BER's core team at the end of June for the two day training session. The training helped to bring pressing tourism issues to the forefront and provided practical knowledge and concepts that are essential for tourism operators to create innovative business solutions while maintaining environmental conservation and engaging local communities.

Belum Eco Resort (BER) has been in operation for three years and shows a strong interest and commitment to environmental sustainability. Located on a privately owned island 15 minutes away from Pulau Banding, the resort is surrounded by the natural breathtaking beauty of Lake Temenggor.

At BER, guests can choose between two types of accommodation; A-framed hut chalets or houseboats on water. The chalets are built with locally sourced materials and include an outdoor "open air" shower closet. The surrounding nature envelops the chalets with trees sweeping overhead and open balconies overlooking the peaceful wide lake.

Owner of BER, Steve Khong, is originally from Ipoh but has been residing in this area for over seven years.

BER stemmed out of Steve's passion for building houseboats and enjoying the natural scenery of Lake Temenggor. He built his first houseboat eight years ago and began exploring every corner of this immense lake. He frequented many Orang Asli villages and befriended many locals, often staying with them for a few weeks before moving onto a different part of the lake. He developed an interest in their well-being and began to contribute towards sustainable development in the area. Steve later decided to invite guests to his houseboat, and gradually acquired a small island and built the chalets, in order to share with others the immense beauty and tranquility of nature, at the same time educating them on the importance of preserving nature.

Steve, his family, and the core team that makes up BER are all very committed to environmental conservation and responsible tourism practices. Although they are still in the initial stages of operation, BER has begun to incorporate a number of best practices. For example, BER uses the 3R-policy emphasizing on the reduction of plastics and unnecessary packaging. They strive for low impact to the surrounding environment, use natural materials for buildings, and are starting to use biodegradable soaps and cleaning supplies throughout its operation. It is perceived that with their passion and dedication they will become a leading example of true eco-tourism in the ever so important areas of Belum-Temenggor, in line with the spirit of being a 'leader in destinations.'




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