Are tourists killing the Rafflesia?

All parties are important in ensuring sustainable tourism is successful – the local community (Orang Asli), tour operators, tourists, planning authorities (Kelantan Forestry Department) and NGOs (in this case Universiti Malaysia Kelantan).

Planning Authority’s view:

Kelantan Forestry Department director Datuk Zahari Ibrahim said the department had received information on the threat posed by visitors who stopped by while on their way to Cameron Highlands, or enroute to Pulau Perhentian in Terengganu, especially at Pos Jedik, which was part of the Lojing Permanent Forest Reserve.

“Some tourists step on the buds and host plants without realising the damage.

“It should not happen in the first place because the Rafflesia Kerri is among the state’s tourism products, and all parties, including travel agents, must play their role in keeping the flower safe,” he said.

Zahari said to protect the plant under the High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF) management plan for the Rafflesia kerri species, the state government had decided to fence 18 plots on a 50ha land at the forest reserve, from which visitors would be barred from entering.

University’s view

The dean of UMK’s  Natural Resources and Sustainability Science department, Zulhazman Hamzah, said the university was aware of the threats and had taken necessary measures to help the authorities.

“The tourism sector is a likely contributor to the destruction of the Rafflesia’s habitat,” he said.

He said the university also started awareness campaigns to educate the Orang Asli and other communities in the state about the preservation of the flower.

“We have been promoting the Rafflesia as a tourist attraction in Lojing Highlands for some time now.

“This provides the Orang Asli more job opportunities as they can work as tour guides.

“We also give talks and share our knowledge with state government departments, local agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on the flower’s recovery and its potential to help the people through eco-tourism activities.”

Source: New Straits Times


Will snow rescue Swiss Alps after dry start to winter?

Challenges of seasonal tourism. This lack of ice is not clearly attributable to global warming since we have taken for granted in recent years that Dec = snow when this may not be the case all the time in the past.

In a bid to maintain the ski season, operators may result to the use of artificial means to recreate the needed conditions, however, how sustainable is this?

So most resorts across the Alps are turning to artificial snow. Snow cannons have been used for many years to patch up vulnerable sections of a slope, but in the last decade their use has increased dramatically.

Fifty percent of Swiss slopes can now be snowed artificially. In neighbouring Austria the figure is 70%. It is, as Christoph Marty points out, an expensive business.

“We need a lot of water for artificial snow, and there is a lot of consumption of power,” he says. “This is one reason why lift tickets are not cheap.”



Wooing Muslim tourists

One way of investing in infrastructure and services is by targeting a specific clientele like Muslim tourists. 

What kind of investments, besides getting halal certification, must non-Muslim countries make to attract Potential Muslim tourists then? 

BANGKOK: Predominately Buddhist Thailand has opened its first halal hotel as hopes to attract more Muslim visitors and boost one of the few bright spots in its economy.

Nearly 30 million foreign tourists came to Thailand last year but only about 658,000 were from the Middle East, according to industry data.

The four-star Al Meroz hotel in Bangkok, which opened in November 2015, hopes to play its part in changing that, and to cash in.

“There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. It’s a huge market,” said the hotel’s general manager, Sanya Saengboon.

“Just one percent of that market is enough for us to thrive.”

Text and photo Source: channelnewsasia