As often stated by the former Secretary-General of the UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, tourism can and should be a force for good. In Sarawak, this is very much the case, as every person who visits Sarawak’s national parks and protected areas and pays fees contributes to the upkeep of these fragile forests – much of them pristine primary growth – and protects the unique wildlife that lives within them.
Some local tour operators also offer the chance for visitors to become involved in reforestation initiatives. Park buffer zones are extremely important in increasing the available habitat for wildlife, so by extending the forest cover this further helps
in protecting the wildlife. Huge steps are being made across the state to conserve and manage Sarawak’s valuable and unique forests. In addition to some 800,000 hectares of Totally Protected Areas (TPAs) that are off-limit to logging companies, large areas of land classed as “terrain 4” (steep and hilly) areas, “High Conservation Value
Forests”, buffer zones and verified “Native Customary Rights” land remain pristine. The declared initiative by the state government to pursue responsible tourism underpins the importance of other moves that had already been initiated by the state authorities to protect forests and wildlife.
Photo: Penan woman, selling handicrafts at Batu Bungan village (Mulu)