Eco-Tourism versus Resorts

November 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm

A news article that mentioned a ruling by the Sabah High Court regarding a tourism development project in Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu once again revealed the ongoing struggle between eco-tourism and resort development in Malaysia. As tourism becomes a bigger economic generator, it is hard to resist developing resorts that charge a high premium that well heeled customers are willing to pay just to be able to boast and brag about holidaying at an exotic location.

The beautiful Tanjung Aru

Many environmentalists feel that eco-tourism, which is supposed to be about the appreciation of nature, with as little invasiveness as possible, is the right direction to go for Malaysia. It certainly does preserve the natural environment, and can be sustainable, but the honest truth is, most Malaysians expect some sort of pampering and luxury when they fork out a large amount of money. After all, a vacation is supposed to be an escape from the drudgery of normal life. So most of them might want a resort type of vacation. Without mosquitoes, leeches and the humidity that comes with eco-tourism.

How would YOU really want to spend your holiday?

Read the full article below:
Environmentalists are hoping that the land areas around the famed Tanjung Aru beach can be turned into a green icon for the state.

Sabah Environmental Protection Association (Sepa) president Wong Tack said the land next to the beach should be transformed into an eco-tourism zone.

With the High Court agreeing with the state’s decision to terminate a tourism development project on the 52ha site in Tanjung Aru, Wong said efforts must be made to rebuild the ecosystem in the area and convert it into a green lung for people in the city.

Wong said proper planning was important once all legal matters were sorted out.

“We will suggest that all stakeholders, the people of Kota Kinabalu, NGOs and other relevant parties get together and look at the best options,” he said yesterday.

Sepa was confident that green development would attract tourists as well as sustainable businesses, Wong said, adding that construction should be minimal to preserve the beachfront.

“Big resorts can be built on the outskirts of the city,” he added.

On July 1, Kota Kinabalu High Court Judicial Commissioner Stephen Chung Hian Guan ruled in favour of the state government to terminate the project and rejected a RM589mil suit filed by developer Paramaha Enterprise Sdn Bhd and 11 other companies.

The High Court decision on July 1 returned 52ha of beachfront land in Tanjung Aru to the state government that was alienated to the companies for a resort development project on May 25, 1996.

Paramaha is appealing the decision.

The state also won a case in which an arbitration court dismissed a RM1.7bil suit against a state-owned company that rescinded a joint-venture agreement with two companies to develop about 162ha of sea land off Kampung Tanjung Aru Laman and Sembulan that was signed on April 4, 1997.

Source: The Star

Photo (c) BarbicanMan

One Response

  1. Andrew Leong says:

    My question is why does eco-tourism and resort development have to been at odds? 52 ha is large site and if sensitively master planned can address both eco-tourism and resort development. Some of the best resorts have a definite eco-tourism angle. Look at the Banyan Tree Bintan and Datai in Langkawi.

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