M'sia calls for specific guidelines on managing green tourism

KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has called on the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to establish specific guidelines on managing green tourism.

In making the call, he said the latest technology and information on green tourism, needs to be disseminated for the mutual benefit of all concerned.

"While we want to put (tourism) at the forefront in terms of generating income for the country, we want to ensure, there is no harm to the enviroment.

"The application of green technology is now a norm but still at an early stage.

"That's why there is a need to establish specific guidelines on how green tourism is to be managed by the government and the various stakeholders," he told reporters after opening the World Tourism Conference 2010, here on Monday.

In this respect, Muhyiddin said Malaysia acknowledged the importance of the environment and its conservation under green tourism.

"A lot of tourists want to move away from the city. They want to enjoy nature which needs to be conserved for future generations," he added.

Asked how Malaysia strikes a balance in promoting green technology and development as a developing nation, Muhyiddin said the country had many policies in place, including that for tourism and the environment.

He said Malaysia would continue to be focused on managing the environment under the green tourism development.

Earlier, in his speech, Muhyiddin said green technology could potentially be a driver for generating new areas of growth and in promoting sustainable development.

As such, he said, due emphasis should be given to promoting ecotourism technology.

"At the same time, this will ensure that tourism contributes to the international sustainable development agenda.

"Tourism is becoming increasingly more discerning. Environmentally conscious green initiatives by providers of tourism products and services, do fetch a higher premium," he highlighted.

In this respect, he said, UNWTO should consider the need to develop a mechanism or institute measures on technology transfer, competency and occupational skill standards as well as best practices in green tourism.

On the global tourism industry, Muhyiddin said based on the first quarter performance, a UNWTO panel of experts, had expressed confidence that tourism would continue to recover.

"The outlook for tourism is encouraging. The arrivals from January to April this year, showed an increase of seven per cent as compared to the same corresponding period in 2008 with Asia and the Pacific region registering a 12 per cent increase," he highlighted.

Muhyiddin also said it was encouraging to note UNWTO's recognition of Asia and the Pacific as the fastest growing sub-regions, beginning in the second half of last year.

"This positive growth will gear members of Asia and the Pacific to move towards a speedy recovery through more effective efforts in attracting a greater number of visitors to the region in future," he added. - BERNAMA

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