Sarawak imposes tougher restrictions on eco-tourism projects

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/7/9/nation/20070709144446&sec=nation

Monday July 9, 2007

Sarawak imposes tougher restrictions on eco-tourism projects

By STEPHEN THEN

MIRI: In an effort to ensure that virgin jungles in Sarawak are left undisturbed as much as possible, the state government has imposed higher levels of restrictions to limit the number of new eco-tourism resort projects statewide.

It is now extremely difficult to secure licence from the state government to open up virgin jungles for building of tourist-resorts and hotels, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam.

We (state government) have received many applications for permits from people who want to open up forests for building resorts and accomodation facilities to attract tourists.

We have already rejected many of these applications. We dont want to give permits for just anybody who want to set up eco-tourism projects.

We want to leave our forests as natural as possible. Only those who have a reputation of being able to carry out such projects with minimal disruption to the ecosystem would be consider.

Tougher policies are in place to ensure that the forests remain as natural as possible, he said on Monday.

Dr Chan, who went on a tour of the Borneo Tropical Rainforest Resort 65kms south of here, said Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud in his capacity as the State Minister for Planning and Resources Management, had asked for the tougher measures because of worries that permits may fall into the hands of incompetent developers.

Dr Chan, who is State Agriculture Modernisation Minister and State Industrial Development Minister, said it is better to limit the number of eco-tourism resorts even though this may limit tourism development.

We want the forests to be as natural as possible. We dont want people to open up jungle resorts and then end up bringing the city into the jungles.

We need to have more forests. People are starting to miss the forests, he said.

Dr Chan praised the developer of the Borneo Tropical Rainforest Resort for not causing too much damage to the ecosystem when carrying out the project.

This resort uses a lot of natural products for its infrastructure facilities and the construction process does not involve clearing or destroying the natural environment as most of the natural habitat and natural biodiversity remains unharmed, he noted.

The resort, which measures the size of 2,000 football fields combined, will be opened next year.

It would also offer night safari tours, visits to see orchids and farm tours as part of its attractions.

The forests in the resort is home to hornbills, wild deers, boars, monkeys and shelters a wide variety of trees, plants and flowers.

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/7/10/nation/18254575&sec=nation

Tuesday July 10, 2007

Sarawak to limit number of new eco-tourism projects

By STEPHEN THEN
stephenthen@thestar.com.my

MIRI: Sarawak has imposed stringent measures and restrictions to limit the number of new eco-tourism resort projects to protect its jungles.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam said they had now made it extremely difficult for developers to obtain licences to built tourist resorts and hotels in such areas.

We have received many applications for such projects but we have rejected them.

Only projects with minimal impact to the ecosystem will be considered, he said.

He said the state government was keen at preserving the forest and to keep it as natural as possible.

He said this during a tour to the Borneo Tropical Rainforest Resort, 65km south of here.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, in his capacity as the State Minister for Planning and Resources Management, had asked for such tougher measures to be implemented as he was worried that such projects could fall into the hands of incompetent developers, he added.

Dr Chan, who is State Agriculture Modernisation Minister and State Industrial Development Minister, said: We dont want people to open up such resorts and end up bringing the city into the jungles.

In his visit to the resort, he praised the development for having minimal impact on the ecosystem.

The resort uses as lot of natural products for its infrastructure and its construction involved minimal impact to the environment. They managed to preserve the natural habitat and biodiversity of the area, he said.

The resort, which has a size of 2,000 football fields, will be opened next year.

It offers night safaris, orchard visits and farm tours as part of its attractions.