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Malaysia to Focus on Ecotourism in 2024
03 July 2024 | Written by Chris Alexander

At the recent Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai, the Chairman of the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, Datuk Dr. Yasmin Mahmood, took the opportunity to reiterate Malaysia’s commitment to sustainability and ecotourism, while also outlining some of the strategies intended to deliver these commitments.  

According to the Chariman, a key focus will be the preservation of natural resources and biodiversity, with special emphasis on Malaysia’s seven geoparks and attractions such as the Mulu Caves and Danum Valley in Borneo. Malaysia will also pay special attention to the promotion of Indigenous cultures and practices, with a view to positioning Malaysia as a travel destination renowned for ‘affordable luxury and ecological responsibility’. 

During ATM Dubai 2024, Datuk Dr. Mahmood described sustainability as the ‘cornerstone’ of Malaysia’s upcoming tourism strategy. This emphasis on ecotourism is an integral part of the Visit Malaysia Year 2026 campaign, which the government is rolling out in a bid to retool its tourism sector around eco-friendly practices and conservation approaches. The campaign includes the development of jungle schools, where visitors can explore Indigenous heritage, through activities that support cultural preservation and promote sustainable living practices. 

The segments targeted by this development include affordable luxury, families, young couples, and other younger traveller demographics. To attract these eco-conscious groups, Tourism Malaysia will promote its rich variety of beaches, highlands, shopping malls and adventure activities. Two of the key nature destinations outlined in this plan are the Mulu Caves and the Danum Valley. 

Located in Sarawak, the Mulu Caves are one of the world’s oldest cave passage networks, which allow adventurous travellers to explore spectacular landscapes and rare geological formations, both above and below ground. They are a key attraction for tourists in Malaysia who are interested in natural history. Another is the Danum Valley – a rainforest in Sabah estimated to be 130 million years old and home a rich diversity of flora and fauna. This includes 172 different species of birds and 75 reptiles.  

From natural wonders to cultural treasures, Malaysia is determined to reorient its tourism offerings towards immersive, inclusive experiences that contribute to the preservation and promotion of the country’s heritage. In the months ahead, further investment in and promotion of sustainable tourism in Malaysia is expected.