Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Eco-tourism projects fall flat

Certain areas of completed eco-tourism projects cannot be fully utilised as equipment and facilities were either not adequately prepared or non-existent, according to the Auditor-General’s Report.

“For example, the RM190,000 Taman Alam Research Centre in Kuala Selangor is now being used as a multi-purpose hall as the equipment needed for it to function as a research centre was not obtained,” the report said.

The report also said 45 of the 60 eco-tourism areas approved under the Eighth and Ninth Malaysia Plans, were not “‘potential areas” as identified under the National Eco-Tourism Plan.

The Plan, formulated at the end of 1996 by the Tourism Ministry with the World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia, aimed to promote nature-based tourism while preserving the environment and ensuring sustainable development.

The report said implementation of eco-tourism projects under the Eighth Malaysia Plan was “less than satisfactory” with only half of the 20 projects completed.

Among the problems were appointing project consultants, contractors who lacked experience, delays in preparing project briefs and identifying appropriate land.

In a statement yesterday, the Tourism Ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Dr Ong Hong Peng said they abided by the report but felt the National Eco-Tourism Plan needed to be re-evaluated as it was drawn up in 1996

Source : STAR
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