Mersing Tourism Association (MTA) is currently preparing the framework for the Green Tourism Initiative (GTI), which is expected to be introduced next year to all tourism industry players in the district.
MTA chairman Sheikh Zulkifli Sheikh Abdul Rahim said the initiative was mooted because the association felt that environmental awareness among domestic tourists was still low.
He said there had been cases of wastes being disposed of on the islands off Mersing, the rivers and seas.
“We have taken the monsoon season break as a chance for us to improve the tourism experience in Mersing, not only for tourists but also for tour operators.
“The GTI is to provide an educational experience, for people to appreciate conservation efforts and the environment.
“The goal here is to create a fun and educational experience for all,” he told StarMetro. Sheikh Zulkifli said the initiative would include programmes for island tour operators and tourism product owners on proper waste disposal.
“In the long run, we want to create quality tourism, aside from creating a database of the right capacity for operators and island folk, so that people do not come and go without any supervision by the authorities amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We will be working with the Sustainable Travel Mersing (STM) group and Mersing District Council (MDM),” he said.
He urged all boat operators to register with MDM to be given the green light to operate in Mersing.
Sheikh Zulkifli said MTA would be closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation, especially the Omicron variant, as well as its impact on the future of tourism in the district.
Meanwhile, Shaz Resort Pulau Tinggi director Datuk Md Zairi Zainal said he allocated about RM30,000 for maintenance and upgrading works at his resort during the monsoon season.
“Although tourism activities have stopped, our day-to-day operations are still ongoing.
“This is more on cleaning up the place and ensuring all the assets and facilities are in good condition.
“Having properties near the sea is different from having them on mainland away from the sea. Properties on islands are exposed to the elements, causing everything to deteriorate faster,” he said.
Md Zairi said his resort had planted various types of fruits and vegetables that were ready to be harvested for their own consumption during the monsoon season.
“This is one of the ways that we can stretch our budget and survive the monsoon season until tourism activities resume,” he added.