The minister for tourism and culture in Malaysia has said that sustainable tourism is an important contributor to a country’s economy that helps balance development and natural protection.
Speaking at the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Tourism Forum, Mohamed Nazri bin Tan Sri Abdul Aziz said that responsible tourism was a significant source of economic growth and jobs.
“At the same time, it simultaneously improves resource efficiency, minimises environmental degradation as well as raises environmental awareness among travellers”, he said.
Participants to the ASEAN Tourism Forum, currently taking place in Malaysia, stressed that the number of tourists in the region was expected to grow by 3.3% by 2030. They added that countries should work to ensure that they are among world’s top and most sustainable holiday destinations.
In his opening message to the event, Nazri said, “The ASEAN Tourism Forum 2014 in Sarawak, Malaysia, will be a timely platform to think and act on implementing innovative and sustainable energy initiatives that will ensure the preservation of our natural environment for future generations.”
Nazri said that sustainable tourism has become an important part of the economy and that ASEAN countries should act together to promote it.
“We will certainly make a significant difference through better networking, co-ordination and co-operation, thus raising the economic wellbeing and quality of life of the people to a much higher level”, he added.
According to figures by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), international tourism in south-east Asia grew by 10% in 2013 and is set to increase further in 2014. In 2012, Malaysia was the 10th most popular holiday destination, the second most popular in Asia after China.