Matta’s APeco leads the way in sustainability in tourism


Green ambition: Ecotourists to Malaysia can get closer to nature through activities such as canopy-walking. - Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The upcoming APeco conference seeks to discover the prospects of ecotourism in the country.

MALAYSIA is a great destination for ecotourism, given its geographical location and natural attractions. In view of its unique potential and pitfalls in the area of tourism and sustainability, Matta organised the first Asia Pacific Ecotourism Conference (APeco) in 2002 in Sabah.

Response has been encouraging and, over the years, more such conferences were organised in various states. This year, APeco will be held from Oct 16-18 at Pacific Sutera Hotel, Kota Kinabalu, with the theme “Adding Value Through Ecotourism Development”.

APeco is a prominent eco-tourism event where ecotourism scholars and industry experts from the Asia Pacific region gather to network and exchange views on ecotourism, conservation and sustainable development in the travel and tourism industry.

“Ecotourism has been growing rapidly for the last two decades. While ecotourism has the potential to create positive environmental and social impacts, it can, unfortunately, be damaging if not done properly,” said Matta president Hamzah Rahmat.

“Putting ecotourism on a truly sustainable path is a major challenge that requires partnership and co-operation among tourism industry (players), governments, the local community and tourists. There is always more to be done. With a conference like this, I trust that all the participants will gain a better understanding and perspective of the development of more effective methods and technologies for ecotourism and sustainable development that will benefit us all,” he added.

Matta vice-president (inbound travel) K.L. Tan said the growing awareness of global warming and negative environmental impact of human activities will make ecotourism an increasingly sought-after type of holiday.

In the coming conference, delegates will learn how to manage, market and maintain ecotourism facilities, products and services based on the guiding principles for the growth, sustainability and development of the tourism industry.

The line-up of speakers includes Mulu World Heritage manager Alison Pritchard, Japan Ecolodge Association founder Masaru Takayama, and Hong Kong Association for Geoconservation chairman Dr Young C.Y. Ng. Meanwhile, Malaysian Ecotourism Association president Prof Amran Hamza will be one of the workshop presenters at the event.

For details on the conference, visit www.apeco2014.com.

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