Ecotourism hotelier calls for local and foreign tourists to be mindful of the environment, especially during holidays and trips.
PETALING JAYA: For those going on a holiday, the main focus will usually be on how best to enjoy the trip.
But eco-tourism hotelier Anthony Wong wants the public to be mindful of their environment when they go on holidays and trips outside of their own country or state.
“We have to start taking action on our own when it comes to preserving nature,” Wong told FMT.
“If we wait for the government to do it for us, it might be a bit too late.”
Wong said it was easy for tourists to enjoy their trips without ignoring the importance of taking care of the environment.
Wong runs an eco-friendly resort, Frangipani Langkawi Resort and Spa, and has been training those in the industry.
He shared a few tips on how tourists, both locals and foreigners, can contribute towards efforts to preserve nature.
“Instead of buying mineral water as most usually do when they go out, tourists should bring their own water bottles.
“They should also avoid using paper towels. Instead, they should carry their own handkerchiefs.”
Engaging with local tourist guides is also important as they are more familiar with the grounds and local areas.
“Tourists can check with local authorities where these local guides can assist.
“They can remind tourists on the dos and don’ts, especially when they go hiking or jungle trekking,” he said, adding that this would prevent unnecessary mishaps, both to the environment and the tourists themselves.
Wong’s comments are in line with a recent news report about how Malaysians generally feel about the environment.
Bernard Harrison, an internationally acclaimed zoologist, was quoted by The Star daily as saying that an environmentally-aware society had yet to be achieved in Malaysia.
“I would say it’s not at the top of their minds. It is a concern which comes from education, comes from being interested and concerned about the environment.
“It comes from school and it’s something that is taken straight into society. It is something that is lacking in Malaysia.
“Being appreciative of the environment is something that needs time to sink in.”
Wong is equally convinced that education is the key to achieving an environment-conscious society, – which will encourage more people and industry players to go green.
Being involved in the business for more than 40 years, Wong said he was becoming aware that more and more industry players were pushing for a sustainable and liveable environment.
“For the past 10 years I’ve taught more than 2,000 people, who are mostly hoteliers.
“Now, I can see that more industry players are actually going green.
“They’ve also learned that it is important to practice and implement green efforts not only to preserve the environment, but also to ensure a good star rating for their businesses.”
Travel guide website Explorer Asia states that ecotourism has become the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry in Malaysia and it is expected to grow at an annual rate of 4.3% in 2017.
Malaysia’s wide range of natural and cultural assets makes ecotourism a highly beneficial, sustainable and long-term form of tourism.