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Pahang gazettes Lubuk Yu state park forest - September 9,2023

KUANTAN: The Pahang government has agreed to gazette a portion of the Berkelah Forest Reserve in Maran as the Lubuk Yu State Park Forest, covering an area of 14,679.28 hectares, according to Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail. The gazettement of the park forest in Lubuk Yu makes it the fourth State Park Forest in Pahang, after Cameron Highlands in 2019 (2,270 hectares), Rompin in 2000 (31,797 hectares), and Tasik Chini in Pekan last year (6,502.80 hectares).

The decision to declare Lubuk Yu State Park Forest was made during the state executive council's meeting last Wednesday. "Lubuk Yu State Park Forest has also been declared a Water Catchment Forest and placed under the management of the Pahang State Parks Corporation, with its management entrusted to the State Forestry Department. In addition, a 1.5km radius State Park buffer zone will also be established.

"Through this gazettement, logging approvals given for the area are hereby cancelled," Wan Rosdy said in a statement here today. He added that the establishment of Lubuk Yu State Park Forest brings the total area of State Park Forests in Pahang to 55,249.08 hectares, all with the status of Permanent Forest Reserves that serve to protect flora and fauna, as well as a unique eco-tourism destination.– BERNAMA

Source: NST

Proposed Tioman airport threatens this paradise - July 17, 2023

LETTERS: A recent media report revealed that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the proposed Tioman International Airport includes measures to mitigate environmental and socio-economic impacts. The EIA report suggests carrying out a marine conservation and rehabilitation plan, which involves relocating and propagating corals to four designated sites and two coral farms before any construction begins. Additionally, to address potential socio-economic impacts, the report recommends offering tax reductions to resort operators and related businesses for at least five years. While the relocation of corals may appear to be a measure to protect these fragile organisms, it is important to examine the drawbacks and limitations of this approach. Relocating corals from their natural habitats to new sites can have an adverse effect on their survival and the ecosystems they support.
Transplanted corals often struggle to adapt to new conditions, leading to a high mortality rate. The disturbance caused by relocation can disrupt the balance of the ecosystem and result in long-term ecological consequences. Furthermore, offering tax reductions to compensate for the potential socio-economic impacts is insufficient. While reduced taxes may provide short-term financial relief for resort operators and businesses, it does not address the damage to Tioman's environment and biodiversity. The long-term sustainability of the island should not be compromised for economic benefits.
Instead, it is crucial to prioritise measures that protect the island's natural resources, promote responsible tourism practices, and invest in the development of alternative industries that are less detrimental to the environment. Pahang boasts the largest nature reserve in the peninsula. So an intervention in the proposed airport project is vital, and it would be a loss to see the island depleted with the development of the airport. Tioman is a testament to the importance of sustainable development.
Its ecosystems, including coral reefs and marine life, are invaluable assets that support tourism and the economy. However, constructing a new airport risks damaging these ecosystems.
Choosing the environment over financial gains may seem counterintuitive in our profit-driven world, but neglecting our environment will have far-reaching consequences.
Devastating floods, resulting in loss of lives and millions in damages, serve as a stark reminder of the impact of climate change. By prioritising sustainable development and protecting Tioman's ecosystem, we can mitigate future risks and safeguard communities. The heatwave, amplified by El Nino, indicate the deteriorating climate health of our planet, with severe implications for communities and biodiversity. Tioman is vulnerable. Preserving its ecosystems ensures the wellbeing of future generations and the protection of its biodiversity. It is disheartening to witness a lack of recognition regarding the significance of this protected area and its failure to prioritise environmental preservation. We urge the government to reconsider and engage in sustainable alternatives that respect Tioman's ecosystems. The proposed airport threatens this paradise. However, we are not powerless in this fight. I urge people to express their dissatisfaction with the project by providing their comments on the Department of Environment's portal. The EIA report is open for public comment until Aug 4. Our voices matter.
Youth climate advocate
Co-founder of Project Ocean Hope
PhD candidate, Universiti Putra Malaysia
Source: NST

Getting the most out of visit tourism year campaigns - June 10, 2023

LETTERS: How many people are aware or remember which of the 13 states have had their respective visit state years? There is no online record that Penang, Negri Sembilan, Pahang and Sabah have ever designated a year to visit their state, but they have been successful in drawing visitors throughout the years. The Land of the Hornbills staged three Visit Sarawak Years in 2003, 2013 and 2019. Kedah had one in 2008, Selangor in 2015, and Kelantan in 2016.

The latter tried to have another in 2020, the same year as Johor, but both were called off together with Visit Malaysia Year 2020.  Visit Terengganu Year was 2017, and so was Visit Perak Year. In 2019, there was Visit Melaka Year. Next year, we will have Visit Perak Year and Visit Melaka Year, and possibly Visit Perlis Year. Sources have claimed that 2023, 2024 and 2025 are Visit Perlis Years. State governments that have designated a year to visit their states will line up promotions and activities. They will also spend funds conducting promotions in other states and countries with a sizeable delegation that may include a dance troupe.

It would be better to spend limited funds on something concrete and there is no better way than building tourism centres. It would be more enjoyable for locals performing cultural dances for visitors to join in rather than just watch. The authorities must fully understand tourism to develop it. For example, the number of foreign visitors to Malaysia in 2019 was not just 26.1 million foreign tourists but 35 million, as 8.9 million foreign excursionists also visited Malaysia in the same year. Likewise, domestic tourism includes tourists and excursionists. And domestic visitors are not only those from other states but also within the same state. Travelling to another city or town for shopping or dining is counted as domestic visitors in domestic tourism surveys. The top five states with the greatest number of domestic visitors are Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Perak, Sabah and Sarawak. Source: NST

Turn Borneo Highlands into resort - June 30, 2023

LETTERS: Before the Covid-19 outbreak, the top three expenditures by foreign tourists were shopping (33.3 per cent), accommodation (24.4 per cent) and transport (18.4 per cent). For domestic tourism expenditure, they were shopping (42.1 per cent), automotive fuel (16.7 per cent), and food and beverage (15.9 per cent). These percentages are likely to be about the same from now and into the future, with the above sectors being the main beneficiaries of tourism. Tour operators have to rely on outbound and inbound tours, as few domestic visitors make use of intermediary services. 

While those that operate tourism vehicles, such as tour buses, vans and cars, and vehicle rental services will continue to be needed, those that act only as middlemen and add another layer of cost without adding value will disappear like travel agencies that relied on airline ticketing. Apart from competing with giant online travel agencies with a global presence and domination, most travellers can also make their own bookings with suppliers directly. Those in the industry must grasp the impressive figures generated by domestic tourism surveys. Interestingly, the number of domestic tourists to Pahang in 2022 increased by 511.8 per cent to 7.8 million compared with 1.3 million in the previous year, with large numbers flocking to Genting Highlands. Although Genting's initial growth was fuelled by the casino, an overwhelming number of visitors in subsequent years went there to enjoy the cool mountain air and to have fun at its indoor and outdoor theme parks, plus a wide array of entertainment, food and accommodation.

Although the Sarawak government has no plans to develop Borneo Highlands into an international tourism resort incorporating a casino, it could take a leaf out of Singapore's book. The island republic was reluctant in the beginning but later realised the spinoffs from operating a casino. The distance between Kuching and Borneo Highlands is 60km, similar to that from Kuala Lumpur to Genting Highlands. Turning Borneo Highlands into a mountain resort would also make the stretch from Kuching a growth corridor and transform the lives of many. 

Source: NST

Batik Air resumes Subang-Kuantan route after 8 years - June 4, 2023

KUANTAN: Batik Air, formerly Malindo Air, has reintroduced its Subang-Kuantan route. Currently, only Malaysia Airlines operates the Kuala Lumpur-Kuantan route, and Singapore's low-cost airline Scoot Air services the Singapore-Kuantan route.

Pahang Public Works, Transport and Health Committee chairman Datuk Mohammad Fakhruddin Mohd Ariff said Batik Air resumed flights between the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (Subang Airport) and Sultan Ahmad Shah Airport (LTSAS) here on June 2. "Batik Air will fly in and out of Kuantan four days a week — Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.  "The ATR 72-600 aircraft will be used for the route. "Previously, Malindo Air served the Kuantan route, but stopped operations in November 2015.

"On April 10, I spoke to (LTSAS manager) Muhammad Irfan Mohd Nor on getting Batik Air onboard. I am grateful to the airline for making it a reality," he wrote on Facebook. Fakhruddin said Batik Air reopening the Subang-Kuantan route provided travellers with more options and could help reduce travel time. It is understood Batik Air will depart from Subang Airport at 7am for a one-hour trip to LTSAS here before returning to Subang at 8.20am. Tourism Pahang general manager Kamaruddin Ibrahim said the return of Batik Air to Pahang was a boon for travellers. "Demand for air transport has always been high, but many people were left with limited flight options in and out of LTSAS.

"Batik Air's return will be a huge relief to the people of the state, as well as tourists. "Visitors can now travel to Kuantan from Subang and Kuala Lumpur International Airport. "Scoot Air, which resumed flights here on March 26, will fly in from Changi Airport." Kamaruddin said talks have begun with low-cost carrier Firefly to resume direct flights between LTSAS and Penang International Airport. "We hope to have a positive announcement soon. Talks will be carried out in stages."

In March, state Unity, Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Leong Yu Man said the Pahang government had initiated talks with several airlines to revive flights in and out of LTSAS to boost tourist arrivals.

Source: NST

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