You are on page 1of 19


"An ecosystem is a unit of biological organization interacting with the physical environment such that
the flow of energy and mass leads to a characteristic trophic structure and material cycles."
- Eugene Odom "the grandfather of ecology"

What is Ecotourism
Eco-tourism is derived from two words - 'Ecosystem' & 'Tourism'. Together it is made Eco-tourism. To
understand Eco-tourism we have to understand our Ecosystem first.

Ecosystem is the system in which we live - the system which include the earth, the water, the sky and of
course the living and the non-living objects in all these systems. It is a dynamic complex of plant, animal
and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit.

But, there is no such specific and particular spatial unit or scale to measure an Ecosystem. Thus, the
term "ecosystem" does not, necessarily, agree to the terms "biome" or "ecological zone", but can refer to
any functioning unit at any scale. It could, for example, be a grain of soil, a pond, a forest, the sea, the
river, a biome or the entire biosphere. And, tourism means - 'the practice of traveling for pleasure.' Thus,
a tourism which contains a visit to an Ecosystem is known as Eco- tourism. But, that is not all. Eco-
tourism is not only travelling to such Ecosystems, but also conserving them. "Tourism involving travel
to areas of natural or ecological interest, typically under the guidance of a naturalist, for the purpose of
observing wildlife and learning about the environment and at the same time focus on wildlife and
promotion of understanding and conservation of the environment."
This is a conscientious form of tourism and tourism development, which encourages going back to
natural products in every aspect of life and help preserve nature. It is also the key to sustainable
ecological development.

We & Our Environment

The race for becoming the most advanced and most developed state in the world, has led man to destruct
the natural resource in our stock and our biosphere. Today, most of the underground and above the
ground resources are on the verge of finish, resulting in abrupt climate, natural disaster and more. Now,
man is facing two very extreme dangerous conditions - 'Global Warming' & 'Greenhouse Effects', both
of which will lead to the total destruction of the Planet Earth. It is now high time, we should (the entire
Human Community) start our bit of job to save our Earth from complete destruction. It is now every
man's duty to do as much possible to save our Planet Earth. Today, there are "Green Laws" of
conservation, which are making people aware of how man and the environment can live beneficially for
more time to come and Eco-tourism is one way to maximize the environmental and social benefits of
tourism, not forgetting the economic developments. Everyone is a stakeholder in the process and we
clearly need to avoid our past shortcomings and negative impact. In India too the movement is gathering
momentum with more & more travel and travel related organizations are addressing the needs of the
eco-tourists and promoting eco-tourism in the country.
Fundamentally, eco-tourism means making as little environmental impact as possible and helping to
sustain the indigenous populace, thereby encouraging the preservation of wildlife and habitats when
visiting a place. This is responsible form of tourism and tourism development, which encourages going
back to natural products in every aspect of life. It is also the key to sustainable ecological development.

The International Eco-tourism Society defines eco-tourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that
conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." This means that those who
implement and participate in Eco-tourism activities should follow the following principles:

Minimize impact
Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect
Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts
Provide direct financial benefits for conservation
Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people
Raise sensitivity to host countries' political, environmental, and social climate
Support international human rights and labor agreements

Aware of the Environment - Today the "Green Laws" of conservation are making people aware of how
man and the environment can live symbiotically for more time to come and eco-tourism is the only way
to maximize the economic, environmental and social benefits of tourism. Everyone is a stakeholder in
the process and we clearly need to avoid our past shortcomings and negative impact that they have had.
In Malaysia too the movement is gathering momentum with more and more travel and travel related
organizations are addressing the needs of the eco-tourists and promoting eco-tourism in the country.
Some basic do's and don'ts of eco-tourism are listed below:


Carry back all non-degradable litter such as empty bottles, tins, plastic bags etc. These must not
litter the environment or be buried. They must be disposed in municipal dustbins only.
Observe the sanctity of holy sites, temples and local cultures.
Cut noise pollution. Do not blare aloud radios, tape recorders or other electronic entertainment
equipment in nature resorts, sanctuaries and wildlife parks.
In case temporary toilets are set-up near campsites, after defecation, cover with mud or sand. Make
sure that the spot is at least 30 meters away from the water source.
Respect people's privacy while taking photographs. Ask for prior permission before taking a


Do not take away flora and fauna in the forms of cuttings, seeds or roots. It is illegal, especially in
the Malaysia. The environment is really delicate in this region and the bio-diversity of the region
has to be protected at all costs.
Do not use pollutants such as detergent, in streams or springs while washing and bathing.
Do not use wood as fuel to cook food at the campsite.
Do not leave cigarettes butts or make open fires in the forests.
Do not consume aerated drinks, alcohol, drugs or any other intoxicant and throw bottles in the wild.
Do not tempt the locals, especially children by offering them foodstuff or sweets. Respect local
Polythene and plastics are non biodegradable and unhealthy for the environment and must not be
used and littered.

Hector Ceballos-Lascurain popularized the term 'ecotourism' in July 1983, when he was performing the
dual role of Director General of Standards and Technology of SEDUE (the Mexican Ministry of Urban
Development and Ecology) and founding president of PRONATURA (an influential Mexican
conservationist NGO). PRONATURA was lobbying for the conservation of the wetlands in northern
Yucatán as breeding and feeding habitats of the American Flamingo. Others claim the term was in use
earlier: Claus-Dieter (Nick) Hetzer, an academic and adventurer from Forum International in Berkeley
CA, coined the term in 1965 and ran the first Eco tours in the Yucatán during the early
1970s.Ecotourism, responsible tourism, jungle tourism, and sustainable development have become
prevalent concepts since the mid 1980s, and ecotourism has experienced arguably the fastest growth of
all sub-sectors in the tourism industry. The popularity represents a change in tourist perceptions,
increased environmental awareness, and a desire to explore natural environments. At times, such
changes become as much a statement affirming one's social identity, educational sophistication, and
disposable income as it has about preserving the Amazon rainforest or the Caribbean reef for
posterity.Ecotourism is a form of tourism that involves visiting natural areas -- in the remote wilderness
or urban environments. According to the definition and principles of ecotourism established by The
International Ecotourism Society (TIES) in 1990, ecotourism is "Responsible travel to natural areas that
conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." (TIES, 1990). Martha Honey,
expands on the TIES definition by describing the seven characteristics of ecotourism, which are:

 Involves travel to natural destinations

 Minimizes impact
 Builds environmental awareness
 Provides direct financial benefits for conservation
 Provides financial benefits and empowerment for local people
 Respects local culture
 Supports human rights and democratic movements


Ecotourism is entirely a new approach in tourism. Ecotourism is a preserving travel to natural areas to
appreciate the cultural and natural history of the environment, taking care not to disturb the integrity of
the ecosystem, while creating economic opportunities that make conservation and protection of natural
resources advantageous to the local people.

In short, ecotourism can be categorized as a tourism programme that is - "Nature based, ecologically
sustainable, where education and interpretation is a major constituent and where local people are

All this together can be called ecotourism. If a travel does not satisfy any one of these constituents, then
it is not called a real ecotourism venture.

The Concern for Ecotourism
Since ages, nature worship and the conservation ethics have been an inseparable part of Indian thought
and traditions. Traces go back to ancient civilizations of Malaysia, when people used to nurture the
philosophy of the oneness of life. The Malaysian tradition has always taught that, humankind is a part of
nature and one should look upon all creation with the eyes of a love and respect.

It is tragic that since last few decades, the mad quest for the material end and economic progress in
Malaysia and abroad has become identical with the exploitation of nature in all its appearances. Today,
the entire world is facing a deep crisis and is in the danger of being doomed. The rich forest areas and
biological diversities have been relentlessly divested to erect concrete walls. The continues denuding of
forest reserves has led to Global Warming and Greenhouse Effects. Fortunately, this has led to some
realization, and now the world has awaken for new beginnings about human responsibility towards

Ecotourism in Malaysia
Malaysia , the land of varied geography offers several tourist destinations that not just de-stress but also
rejuvenate you. There are several ways to enjoy Mother Nature in most pristine way. The few places like
the Mount Kinabalu,Pulau Redang and so on are some of the places where you can enjoy the treasured
wealth of the Mother Nature. The Malaysian topography boasts an abundant source of flora & fauna.
Malaysia has numerous rare and endangered species in its surroundings. The declaration of several
wildlife areas and national parks has encouraged the growth of the wildlife resource, which reduced due
to the wildlife hunt by several kings in the past. Today, Malaysia has many wildlife sanctuaries and
protection laws. Currently, there are about several national parks and sanctuaries in Malaysia, which
works for the protection and conservation of wildlife resource .

There are numerous Botanical and Zoological Gardens in Malaysia, which are working towards the
enhancement of the ecosystem. Poaching has stopped to large extent. There are severe punishments for
poachers, hunters and illegal traders of animals and trees. Tree plantation are taking place in several
places. There are several animal & plant rights organization, who fight for the rights of the animals and
plants. Numerous organizations and NGOs are coming forward to provide environmental education to
the common people at the grass root level.


Ecotourism can be best defined as a nature based tourism that involves education, interpretation of the
natural environment and is managed to be ecologically sustainable. In order to explore the tourism
potential of an area, thorough study needs to be conducted to assess tourism supporting motivational
activities, places and basic infrastructural facilities availability like roads, hospitals, and communication.
The use of Remote Sensing and GIS has greatly helped in exploring diverse types of natural and cultural
attractions to provide base for designing the travel industry for a responsible mass ecotourism.

Assessment, planning and declaration of Ecotourism potential sites is one of the thrust area where the
Park has been actively engaged. Categorizing area, on the basis of their history, geographical location,
landscape beauty and indispensable tourist facility and public amenities forms the basis for declaring an
area as a tourist potential zone. Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) have
played a vital role by providing customized maps, layouts and information services to the end user.

The indigenous people in Malaysia have preserved their culture, language and way of life, even in the
present century. The rich flora, fauna, diverse topography and ethnic groups have of late, started
attracting domestic as well as foreign tourists into the region and recently, community-based tourism has
gained importance. While community-based tourism has been used to describe a variety of activities that
seek to positively link conservation with economic development, many of the issues involved in the
development of a community-based tourist area are not clearly defined.

There are many concerns about managing negative impacts on local environments, while at the same
time sufficiently involving local communities in the planning process to receive just benefits from
tourism activities. This paper seeks to examine the potentiality of cultural and eco-tourism in the states
of Malaysia and the steps that need to be taken in order to make the above activity/industry into a
sustainable one. It offers the maximum potential for the promotion of ecotourism. Miles and miles of
endless serene beaches, tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters, pristine valleys and mountains, exotic
species of rare flora and fauna, wild life sanctuaries and national parks, enchanting art forms, magical
festivals and cultural monuments are all unique and has given it the sobriquet of “Gods own country”.


Understanding the nature of eco tourism and the travelers who purchase eco tourism products is the first
step in establishing an eco tourism business.

The ecotourism ethic requires adherence to stringent environmental standards. Ecotourism has been used
by some operators as green marketing for soft adventure products, while giving little consideration to
operating practices and impact on the environmental and local community. Operating in
environmentally responsible manner requires additional planning and may increase start up cost.
Environmental impact assessment may be required, depending upon the nature of business and its

Marketing an ecotourism products differ from that of conventional tourism product. The need of
ecotourists are greater in the area of interpretation, variety and quality of experience, and group size.
The ability to customize tour and access remote destinations are important factor.

Some market segment may be hard to reach. Wildlife viewers and other natural history enthusiasts are
more fragmented and require a broader selection of advertising tools. Daily operations also present
special difficulty.

Maintaining the highly trained and diverse workforce requires sound human resource management. The
ecotourism product may need several operating seasons to generate a return to investors. This require
careful consideration in budgeting, start-up costs, and selection of financing.

TITLE: Excursion Trip to Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM)
Venue: Institute Penyelidikan Perhutanan Malaysia (FRIM), 52109 Kepong, Selangor.
Date of Visit: 13th October 2017


The first time we had ever gone to a field trip was the most excitable event for us; it was held on the 13th
of October, Friday. For about 20 of us students, and 2 lecturers accompanied us in the trip. The place
that we had been to was a wonderful forestry research center the Forest Research Institute Malaysia
(FRIM) located in Kepong, Kuala Lumpur.

FRIM is a statutory agency of the Government of Malaysia, the place was very natural and full
of lush of greenery; there were blocks of building in the forest which separates the sections of FRIM.
FRIM is the organization that encourages sustainable management and optimal use of forest resources in
Malaysia by spawning knowledge and technology through research, development and application in
tropical forestry. It came as a great surprise to know that what the country’s lowlands were once which
was covered by large tracts of virgin forest was turned into a research centre as we saw on the day of our
excursion. The research centre was established even before World War II, and the institution was named
as Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), by the EX-Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Bin
Muhammad when he visited FRIM on June 11, 1984 (Forest Research Institute Malaysia, 2013).

The aim of this excursion is to provide students like us to see and learn how in real life or in working
environment that helps to research about the ecosystem, it serves as a platform for us to have more
knowledge on research field which is related to the field of Ecotourism. We went on the excursion to
enhance our understanding as well as to gain more interest towards the forestry research and
development in Malaysia, to enable ourselves to further learn and to have social skill development, we
had a chance to view with our own eyes as to how the theories and techniques that we study in lectures
can be applied in real life practices.

This as a great opportunity for us to develop deeper understanding about each concepts and that learning
is not only concealed in lecture classes. The team of our Ecotourism students arrived at about 8.00 a.m.
early in the morning at FRIM. By the time we went there, it was drizzling a bit. The place was very
beautiful, refreshing and so lively. After we reached, the lecturers sorted out groups for us. At our arrival
at the FRIM we were accompanied by two trekking guide, who will show us the forestry areas. As you
enter FRIM, you will be amazed by the botanical garden or living museum of trees. Walk through the
many nature trails and discover the many species of flora and fauna here.

main road at FRIM headquarter

this pond is home to giant Dragon Fishes

We were given a short briefing about what happens at pond of giant dragon fishes, we get to feed
one of the dragon fishes in the pond and get to experience the length of over gown dragon fishes .The
trekking guide took us into FRIM museum, whereby, he introduced us various and diverse of plants and
types of wood that is being created by scientist.

Secondly, our particular interest is the park's canopy walkway. This canopy is suspended 30 m from the
ground and spans over 200 m. We must be bold and walk through the hanging canopy and you will be
able to see the breath-taking view of the city and the greenery of the forest unfortunately the reason for
its closure unfortunately the 25 years old Canopy Walkway had been permanently closed to the public
since 1 July 2017 as it had outlived its life span.

10 | P a g e
As you come down from the canopy walk, go towards the signage that shows the direction to the picnic
area by following the water pipelines and you will soon encounter an area where you can have some fun
in the water. The water is refreshing and cool.

We remembered to wear a good walking shoes, drinking water and some foodstuff as there are no shops
up in the jungle. We also did bring a can of insect repellent will come in handy especially if we
encounter some mosquitoes or other insects along the way.

11 | P a g e
There are a few nature trails that you can explore. The popular ones are the Keruing Trail and the Salleh
Nature Trail. The trekking guide shows us this amazing looking "puzzle-like" pattern of the individual
tree crowns detached by gaps and outlined against the sky. This phenomenon is called "Crown
Shyness". The reason for its name is because the leaf tips of the Dryobalanops aromatica appear to be
shy towards their own kind, hence forming the gap.This tree is also known as kapur tree and has a nice-
smelling exudate known as camphor, one of the main component of making ointment. The ointment is
used for stomach massages after child delivery.

12 | P a g e
"Crown Shyness" Phenomenon, Kapur trees form an impressive forest roof, also sometimes
nicknamed "Broccoli Trees"

We began our jungle trekking as soon after the instructor introduce us to the rare species of
plants. The very first thing that we encountered that, it was raining heavily but we could not stop the
trekking halfway and we had to continue. We discovered allot information about these trees and how a
particular trees takes time to grow .The next thing that we encountered was leeches, countless leeches
we literally jumping onto us,we had to pushed it down and some of them was literally screaming
because of the leeches but in the end we did our trekking.

The excursion ended at about 12.30 pm., we had a great time viewing and experiencing what
nature had to offer us and also knowing its importance and purpose. We departed from FRIM and
headed out to Kepong area for our lunch, about 3.30 p.m. and we travelled back to homes safely.

13 | P a g e
There are many advantages and disadvantages of ecotourism. There are many more advantages of
ecotourism than disadvantages. Unfortunately, ecotourism is still a new field of study and a new sub
sector of the tourism industry. And, with most new found industries, many organizations, companies,
and countries are taking advantage of it.

Also, a lot of people are still trying to understand exactly what ecotourism is and whether they could
trust the brochures or information put out by various sources. The key problem is that so many people
are taking advantage of the idea of ecotourism and others trying to do well for the environment. But we
found out this pros and cons in FRIM.

Ecotourism is an industry that stands to make a lot of money from tourists that are seeking
environmentally friendly vacations or ecologically friendly activities. The money from ecotourism could
be used to preserve nature, wildlife, species and earth's natural resources as well as help local people
with access to civilization and education.

For example, FRIM is prime for ecotourism, the money is used to preserve the environment in that
country so that the natural resources would last longer, and the place is being developed as well. And the
environment and natural resources rarely get preserved because they are worth more in a theme park
attracting Eco tourists.

Ecotourism helps create a better appreciation of the world's natural resources, such as landscapes,
wildlife and coral reefs. This stimulates a desire to protect the natural environment through the creation
of national parks, wildlife preserves and marine parks. Funding for conservation work is generated by
tourists through sources such as park entrance fees, camping fees, local taxes and safari tours. For an
ecample FRIM has this entrance fees as soon we enter the area, the guard will collect the amount of rm5,

Ecotourism can also assist in the battle to protect the ecosystems of developing countries by providing
alternative sources of employment, which limits the damage caused by over-fishing and land clearance
for farming and logging.FRIM is classified as one of example of ecotourism as we can experience the
beauty of nature at utmost .FRIM has sustained and preserve source of nature such as timber wood, teak
wooded and so on for upcoming generation has able to still notice that our rare plants still exist in this

14 | P a g e

Although the concept of ecotourism is a good one and can potentially help the environment, you need to
decide if it is worth sacrificing all the natural resources to make room for tourists.

After all, it is impossible to stop people from putting profit first before the environment.

 Agreeing on the definition of ecotourism .FRIM is not accurately following the concept of
ecotourism in terms of properly maintaining the environment, they had to cut down certain trees
to build trek rails.

 Focusing on tourism to generate income or focusing on improving the environment negative

impacts on local communities, money spent on public relation campaigns, rather than actual
.FRIM has add on entrance fees that causing unnecessary expenses for local communities
because they don’t provide any benefits to us.

 Physical displacement of persons, gross violation of fundamental rights, and environmental

hazards .FRIM has offered us only two people for safety walking into the jungle, we had to
encounter many insects such as leeches and not given proper instructions if we did encounter
them. In safety measures, FRIM didn’t provide us as much.

 Damage to the environment and disruption of ecological life systems from various forms of
pollution such as from more tour vehicles .In FRIM, there tour vehicles could easily cause harm
for the plants and causes more pollution because it’s not eco-friendly. Furthermore, they did not
provide us with the proper sign board, where trekkers and students who visiting the jungle would
easily get lost.

 Less rare species as they are widely hunted down and kept for show, FRIM have showed us the
good side by having many plants, but is all kept on display. Rare species is keep on extinction.

15 | P a g e
As an eco-tourist, travel, respecting local culture and traditions and encouraging local pride-local
cuisine, folk songs and dance, traditional dresses, local etiquette, local architecture. There is a
science and art in everything. Be friendly, inquisitive and patient.

Understand that leakage of economic benefits outside the community due to non-local ownership
of tourism business is bad. Give a fair price to rural produce by buying local. Indigenously crafted
or value added products provide the right livelihood to the locals and use up less natural resources.

Think eco-systems. Be conservation conscious. Support friendly resource usage water through rain
water harvesting, use of non-conventional energy; if electricity is unavailable, use energy-efficient
kerosene stoves.

Respect carrying capacity of the physical environment and the resources, knowing that
overcrowding leads to a lessening of the tranquility and simplicity of life that attracts you in the
first place.

Make positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, maintain local

Keep local water sources clean and avoid using chemical detergents in streams or springs.
Conservation of water is vital, especially drinking water. Water from Kitchen waste or rain-water
through regular harvesting be used for sanitation and use, where quality of water required is not
very high. Water source should not be contaminated in any way.

Firewood is scarce and should be used carefully, whether for heating water or for bonfire or for
fire-places provided. Avoid making open fires and discourage others from doing so. There should
be no carelessness with reference to fire.
Check vehicle travel to reduce for polluting gases/smoke. Pooling for travel is cheaper and lesser
polluting. Use bicycles/horses/ponies and wherever possible walk---healthy, non-polluting—stand
and stare there is so much to absorb the mountain terrain is awesome, serene and educative.
It is illegal to carry fire-arms/nets or any explosives. Do not also carry polythenes or other prohibited

While taking photographs or shooting with your video-camera (for which there is a prescribed fee)
you are encouraged not to disturb the subject you want to capture in any way. Do not use flashes,
particularly close up, as this can disturb and annoy wild animals and nesting birds.

Strictly follow the guidelines for personal safety and security taking required precautions.

Wear comfortable clothes with inconspicuous colours like khaki, olive green or grey so as not to
disturb environs with bright and gaudy colours. Use good quality trekking shoes—some are rain-
proof too. Use hats/caps during hot days and rain gear during rains and jackets/wind-cheaters during
cold. Travel light in terms of baggage. Back packers only carry essentials—food, medicines, camera.

16 | P a g e

People from around the world visit FRIM and its natural reserves, the forest and plains. The more the
human interference, more is the balance of nature disrupted. To curb this over exposure of nature, a new
branch of tourism came into existence called Eco-tourism.

The eco tourism fever has caught up in Malaysia recently but it has picked up pace very quickly. India
specifically was in dire need of this sort of tourism owing to the number of tourists it has started
attracting from the world over. When so many tourists visit nature rich destination such as FRIM, they
are bound to be polluted. And when the influx of humans is rapid, the environmental conditions do
deteriorate. To bring back the balance, it is very important to spread awareness which can be done easily
through program like eco tourism.

In Malaysia eco-tourism only can go uphill. Stats suggest that each year the revenue grow by 7.7%. In
past there already have been many a successful attempts in promoting eco tourism. Even now the future
of eco tourism is bright as famous projects like Jim Corbett National Park, Earth Day and etc, that were
started a few years back are running successfully.

If you look at these places closely you realize that eco tourism already existed in the minds of people
even before the concept was devised. However the term eco tourism is western which sort of provides a
fancy packaging to an already existing service.

17 | P a g e

Tourism has proved to be an engine of growth in many economies in the world. Tourism has proved to
have negative impacts as well as the positive ones. It is criticized for contaminating indigenous culture.
Due to heavy tourist traffic in some areas, the cultural and environmental assets of the community are
under threat. Although this phenomenon is not widespread in Malaysia, there is a need to take note of
the possible negative influences of tourism so that timely preservation action can be taken and
irreparable loss avoided.

The movement towards ecotourism is at once a threat and an opportunity to create more sustainable
tourism: by diverting tourist traffic to ensure the carrying capacity of any destination is not exceeded; by
planning for regeneration of natural resources; and by generating awareness in the host community
whereby they are prepared and forearmed to deal with the negative impact of mass tourism.

Through this event we had observed many types of activities and we learnt the importance of
knowing plants, their reactions to different environments, the type of trees that yields best wood, they
type of seeds that are used to make furniture and house. We were able to get a basic knowledge of how
quality tests are done upon various types of trees, , we were briefed on how eco-tourism are done, what
is the purpose of doing so and a briefing about mass production of plants. The brief visit had given us an
input on how the techniques that we study are carried out in the mass production of plants. The trip has
given us an understanding on how topics such as preservation and sustaining environment are made use
in research. We obtained a deeper understanding on the basis of how product can be developed, what
and why researches are performed and how they are carried out in detail. This was such a good
opportunity for us to know and learn the importance of the ecotourism and the relevance of our field of
study in researches.

18 | P a g e

19 | P a g e