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April 18, 2010

Sarawak wants Mulu Cave site to be country’s 2nd Global Geopark


MULU: Sarawak is hoping for the Gunung Mulu National Park to become the second Global Geopark in Malaysia after Langkawi.

Tourism and Heritage Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan said that such a recognition for Mulu, already listed as a World Heritage Site, would be most appropriate considering its numerous natural wonders.

He pointed out that Mulu had one of the most spectacular caving systems in the world, including the world’s largest underground chamber and the largest cave passage. Its geological formations were some 40 million years old, he added.

“Gunung Mulu National Park is a fine example of a world-class geo-tourism destination and it can be a Global Geopark,” he said when opening the Second Geotourism Conference here Sunday.

Dr Chan, who is also deputy Chief Minister, said the state government realised the potential of eco-tourism as a new emerging sector.

“The government values the importance of preserving such a rich heritage like Mulu, thus no road will be built from Miri to access this park although it is possible to do so,” he said.

“In this way, it will help us preserve the park from mass tourism and also irresponsible tourists who may destroy our heritage instead of helping us conserve it,” Dr Chan said, adding that the state government was no longer issuing any new logging licence.

He hoped that the three-day conference would help the government further propel Sarawak’s geo-tourism industry.

Gunung Mulu National Park has seen a substantial increase in visitors since its listing by Unesco as a World Heritage Site in 2000. There were 25,000 visitors last year alone.

Global Geoparks are also a Unesco programme with 66 in 21 countries around the world.



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