Master plan to conserve, tap Belum’s potential

  • Business
  • Thursday, 28 Jan 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: The Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) will develop an Integrated Master Plan (IMP) to conserve the Belum-Temenggor Tropical Rainforest (BTTR) in Perak and tap its potential as a sustainable eco-tourism destination.

NCIA chief executive Datuk Redza Rafiq said there was a growing demand for eco-tourism globally.

“The number of eco-tourists is growing worldwide due to greater increase in ecological awareness and the search for authenticity. It is a niche segment and there is a lot of untapped potential for it,” he told StarBiz in an interview.

“The IMP will help us identify areas that are ideal for niche and commercial tourism,” Redza said.

He added that the NCIA would be working closely with the Tourism Malaysia and Tourism Perak to boost BTTR as an eco-tourism destination of choice for both local and international tourists.

The BTTR is more than 130 million years old and covers over 300,000ha of land and water mass encompassing the Royal Belum State Park (117,500ha), Gerik Forest Reserve (34,995ha) and Temenggor Forest Reserve (147,505ha).

According to statistics provided by the NCIA, the Perak State Park Corp indicated that the total number of visitors to the Royal Belum State Park was 6,627 in 2007 and 7,320 in 2008.

Redza said the NCIA was in the final stages of shortlisting consultants that would help it develop the IMP.

“We are speaking to nine or 10 parties, comprising locals and foreigners. After the deadline on Feb 12, the NCIA will review all proposals submitted and appoint the most suitable consultant as soon as possible.

“The consultants must be able to provide various governance structures as BTTR is sensitive to infrastructure development,” he said.

Redza revealed that the IMP would take some 12 months to complete, commencing from March.

“The reason the IMP will take a year is because we will also be conducting evaluations on the site itself. We will need to study the animals’ migratory and weather patterns there so that we do not interfere with the ecosystem,” he said.

The NCIA is also in the midst of constructing a new public jetty cum rest and recreation area on Pulau Banding (a man-made island within Temenggor Lake) to replace the existing jetty that is flood-prone.

Redza said it was still too early to disclose how much would be invested in the infrastructure.

“We will determine that once the IMP has been finalised,” he said.

The development is expected to span 2ha and would include components such as a mini ICQ (immigration, customs and quarantine) building, public car parks, tourist information centre, surau, public toilets and food stalls.

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