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Moving ecotourism up value chain

14 July, 2010

The second World Ecotourism Conference couldn’t have made a better choice of its namesake than the pristine Royal Belum State Park.

Held for three days last week at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, the conference was officially called the Royal Belum Second World Ecotourism Conference (WEC2010).

Making the park’s presence more significant, there was a special video presentation on the pristine beauty and biodiversity of the rainforest surrounding the massive Tasik Temenggor.

And it was only right to have the Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir to open the conference.

Also present at the opening were Deputy Finance Minister Senator Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussein, Industry, Investment, Entrepreneur Development, Tourism and Women Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Hamidah Osman and Tourism Ministry secretary general Datuk Dr Ong Hong Peng.

United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary-general was represented by its programme committee chairman Datuk Dr Victor Wee who is also the chairman of Tourism Malaysia.

Themed “Urban Ecotourism and Biodiversity Hotspots in Developing Countries; Shifting Paradigms and Strategic Adaptations”, the conference was attended by more than 300 delegates from 40 countries.

It fielded 40 speakers including keynote speakers from Egypt, the Philippines and Australia who deliberated on the main theme.

The plenary session touched on three topics: Urban & Rural Ecotourism: New Paradigms; Sustainable Tourism and Roadmaps: Turning Green; and Market Development and Ecotourism: Viability versus Responsibility.

Banding Island at Royal Balum 
Royal Belum’s pristine beauty and biodiversity took centre stage at the recent WEC2010

The discussions emphasised on the need to conserve biodiversity for tourism and mainstream ecotourism as the way forward to populate the tourism industry with sustainability principles.

Speakers from developing countries promoted the revitalisation of rural resources and moving ecotourism up the value chain. This was the result of the recent global downturn.

The giant Rafflesia.jpg
The giant rafflesia is a major attraction at Royal Belum

During the closing ceremony, 10 international volunteers from nine countries were introduced to the delegates.

The volunteer programme is an innovative youth empowerment programme introduced to promote youth empowerment in ecotourism.

As an output of the WEC2010, the conference would be drafting a declaration to be submitted to UNWTO for endorsement. The declaration was, however, not ready at Press time.

WEC2010 was organised by DiscoveryMICE Sdn Bhd, an affiliate member of UNWTO.



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