The Potential Of Ecotourism In Malaysia Tourism Essay

This research paper is focus on tourism industry (ecotourism) in Malaysia. The objective of this paper is to report on an empirical research study which investigated how to improve or develop the industry tourism (ecotourism) in Malaysia? Besides improvements, the important for this research is to concern about the contribution of the tourism industry on the Malaysia GDP. To understanding the natural sources that we owned and generate it to develop our country. Findings were from the analysis of data such as internet, newspaper, government data and source that prepared by other people. A regression model was developed as evidence to this. The literature on this aspect is limited. Thus, the research findings of this study are useful for future studies. This study also provides several recommendations for future research in this area.

Introduction of tourism (ecotourism)

Tourism is a relaxing activity for people to travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. Based on the World Tourism Organization describe that tourists is people who travel to other places and stay in places outside their usual environment. According to World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), tourism has become one of the global largest industries nowadays. In other word mean that tourism has become a well-liked global leisure activity. In year 2009, Tourism industry has contributed 9.4% of world GDP into the economy, or equivalent of 5433.7 US billion dollars. There are a lot of people who traveling around the world time by time just to release tension or enjoy their lifetime or business purpose. Based on WTO, there were over 922 million international tourist arrivals in 2008, with a growth of 1.9% as compared to 2007. In 2008, international tourism receipts grew to US$944 billion (euro 642 billion), corresponding to an increase in real terms of 1.8%. Furthermore, real GDP growth is expected to growth in average 4.4% over the coming ten years. In the other hand, tourism economy has provided a total 235 million jobs in the worldwide.

However, in the beginning of June 2008, international travel demand suffered a strong slowdown, with growth in international tourism arrivals worldwide falling to 2% during the boreal summer months. This negative trend become strong during 2009, worsen in some countries due to the outbreak of the H1N1 influenza virus, resulting in a worldwide decline of 4% in 2009 to 880 million international tourists arrivals, and an estimated 6% decline in international tourism receipts. The country that hit badly such as Mexico, experienced outbreaks of respiratory illness and enlarged reports of patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) in several areas of the country. Based on our tourism ministry Dr. Ng Yen Yen said that during that serious epidemic period, it unaffected our tourism sectors but further increase our tourist arrival. We can see that Malaysia is still attracting the tourist although there is happening the epidemic. This is also because our epidemic is still under control which mean our country less affected by H1N1, this caused to the people who favor on tour shift their planning to other more safety countries such as Malaysia.

In Malaysia, travel and tourism industry’s share of GDP has rise from 8.6%, worth RM8.02 billion in year 1988 to 14.1% of GDP, worth RM94.6 billion in years 2009. While travel and tourism direct industry (included transport, accommodations, food and beverages and etc.) has brought a total income of RM36.8 billions in year 2009, or 5.5% of GDP. Besides that, tourism has created a total job opportunities of 1395700, or equivalent of 12.7% of total employment. As we know that Malaysia is one of the country which held in the tropical area on the earth. Malaysia is an amazing country with immeasurable large quantity of biodiversity. It is not surprising to find that 75 percent of Malaysia’s land area is remains forested, with 60 percent virgin rainforest that unchanged for over millions years. The country is presented with numerous natural attractions such as amazing and diverse flora and fauna (refflesia, orang utan), white sandy beaches, exotic marine aqua life (Pulau Sipadan, Pulau Mataking), dense rainforests(Taman Negara) and the oldest and largest caves in the world (Deer cave).

To sharing of the mysteries in Malaysia, one of the twelve mega-biologically diverse countries in the world, which boasts at least 15,000 species of flowering plants, 286 species of mammals, 150,000 species of invertebrates, and 4,000 species of fishes in addition to the countless micro-organisms. Experience a huge range of outdoor activities, such as caving, hiking, jungle trekking, snorkeling, rock climbing, diving, river cruising and much more. Experienced outdoor professionals, who are well ready with the latest gear, can guide you through all of these activities. If you are looking for rich and exotic ecotourism experiences in balmy tropical weather, the time is now, the place is Malaysia.

This made Malaysia owned the potential to develop the ecotourism to growth up the economy furthermore can introduce Malaysia to other countries. To let others learn more about the natural better than keep reliance in the industrial sector to boost up the GDP. The widespread interest in ecotourism among tourism players is due to its direct linkage to the greater prospects for sound and sustainable tourism development with strong possibilities for appropriate local participation and shared responsibility for preserving the environment, cultural heritage and people’s way of life. It is needed everyone to responsibility to protect our natural environment well.

Research Problem

As we know that Malaysia is a tropical forest country that rich with the natural sources flora and fauna, white sandy beaches, exotic marine aqua life, dense rainforest and the oldest and largest caves in the world. Therefore we should introduce it to foreign country so that it can attract the foreign tourist to our country. But the problem is does it really known by other countries? What should we do to improve our natural sources to attract the tourist? What are the factors that influence the total number of tourist to Malaysia? Besides, how we going to develop it, so that it can more known by other counties tourists? However it is needed a sustainable develop to prevent it get harm to the biodiversity. And since we know that when there is a lot of tourist to our country sure it will generate capital flow into our country and increase our GDP. Therefore it is needed to understand the potential and how to attract tourists to generate our country income.

Research Question

What did the government do to develop the tourism industry?

Does it have the potential to attract the foreign tourists?

How to improve our ecotourism facilities and services?

What are the strategies to attract more tourists to visit Malaysia?

Research Objective

To realize the important of tourism industry.

To analyze the potential of tropical country that rich with immeasurable large quantity of biodiversity.

To examine what initiative will be taken by the government.

To analyze the contribution of tourism in our GDP.

Literature Review

Mohammed Mohd. Daud, (n.d.) with his conference article “The Ecotourism Develop In Malaysia” mention that the services sector including the tourism industry, is the major revenue as well as the largest contributor to Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 46% in 1999. He specified that the tourism is a growing sector and gaining importance in the Malaysian economy. Besides, due to the existing legal requirements and the economic development strategy, the promotion of tourism and ecotourism activities in Malaysia involves a number of institutions and also including the statutory body – Tourism Malaysia to involve in marketing and promoting tourism product. Considering that the ecotourism objective such as the National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries are often located in distant places, but the government would provide basic infrastructure facilities such as roads, jetties and some amenities. Furthermore, the government is also supporting ecotourism development by means of sponsoring the cost of technical consultancy work on particular ecotourism destinations. For case study in this article mention that although the Kinabatangan Wildlife Safari has not matured yet in developing, it is already showing its potential in becoming a successful ecotourism destination where preservation of natural resources with sustainable development. It involves all parties such as the government, private sector, local communities and NGOs work together in a partnership to protect the priceless natural asset by translating business opportunities into maintenance benefits.

The purpose of this study is to calculate tourism’s contribution through deriving multipliers in terms of output, income, employment, value added, and import for Malaysian economy. Based on this study, they found that, tourism sector have been generated employment which is 174 full-time employee for every Ringgit of tourist expenditure. According to researcher, entertainment sector is most important sector that generated tourism income followed by accommodation and food& beverages. Malaysian tourism industry not only playing an important role for generating output, income, employment, value-added, and import but also creates spillover effects on other tourism related sectors of the economy. However, based on the analysis of this paper, it is obvious that tourism industry is contributing significantly to the Malaysian economy in terms of generating output, income, employment, and value-added.

Based on the Nilakantha Panigrahi research paper “DEVELOPMENT OF ECO-TOURISM IN TRIBAL REGIONS OF ORISSA: POTENTIAL AND RECOMMENDATIONS” had mention about the wealth in being tourism of the Orissa region in eastern India. He said that with the well develop in the ecotourism will generate some income for the state. Tourism is identifying as an industry in Orissa in generate the income from the foreign tourists because that place seem to have different type of attractive onwards the tourists especially the countless temples of Orissa scattered at the state. The attractiveness is that the state owned 79 heritage sites in Orissa which protected by Archaeological Survey of India. Western Orissa is known by a small temple town, besides particularly of the western Orissa have the streams and forests which show the natural beauty of Harisankar in Bolangir and Nrusinghanath in Balangir. Furthermore, Kalahandi area is endowed with the wealth of forests, for example existence of a rare species of black tiger, with a natural waterfall at Rabandar, and a host of temples situated at the hilltops of Bhawanipatna.

Nevertheless, the concept of museum is also being established by government for collected and displaying those artifacts by following the types of it. The record from 1990 until 1998 with the attraction of tourists is 86.58% in domestic and 11.50% for foreign tourists. This can be proved that the well known of domestic people and unrealized in the potential of the place as being a tourism destination for foreign tourists because of poor developing that place. However the tourist arrival show that the increasing trend from 1990 until 1997 but dropping in 1997-1999 due to the Asian financial crisis and then increase again in 1999 to 2000. Due to the Orissa heritage place, natural environment with flora and fauna it can be the successful destination for tourists. The reason that it cannot attract more is because of poor developing by government as a tourism destination from an ecological and cultural point of view.

From the “TOURISM AND SUSTAINABILITY IN ENVIRONMENTALLY FRAGILE AREAS: CASE STUDIES FROM THE MALDIVES AND NEPAL” research by Katrina Brown,R. Kerry Turner, Hala Hameed and Ian Bateman had said that Maldives and Nepal is a country which enrich with natural resources such as reefs, beaches, and mountains especially the most highest mountain in the world – Everest are attract many tourists to there. The amount of trekkers to Nepalese Himalaya grew by 25 percent per annum over the period 1985-1988. Furthermore, Maldives tourism visitors have increased from a total of less than 1000 per annum in 1972 to 178,000 in 1991. As we can see that the amount of tourist is increasing lead by globalization. It makes people able to move across to other countries. In analyzing the Maldives in 1991, total of tourists had increase to over 178,000 tourists. The annual rate is exceeds 30 percent for this period and this show that it stand at over 1.7 million. The total receipts are achieving 94 million in 1991 if compare to 1981 is just 15 million. However for Nepal, the data said that is just only 6179 tourists in 1962 but it change to a huge amount in almost 300,000 in 1991. This can show that the attracting to Nepal is increasing rapidly and with majority tourists came for the nature. This can be see that the successfulness of the ecotourism such as mountain or jungle trekking, jungle safaris, river rafting or ethnic tourism in Nepal. Both study also show that more tourists were came toward their country by enjoying the nature environment.

Research Hypothesis

By referring to the literature reviews mentioned, we are able to form 2 hypotheses that measure the growth of tourism sector that accelerated the industrialization process.

The first hypothesis model formed state that the contribution of tourism sector towards the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is influence by the foreign and domestic tourists and the number of projects approved by tourism department. Hence, the function below is formed:.

GDP = f (tourists)

However, the second hypothesis model formed state that the contribution of tourists towards the tourism is influence by the number of projects approved by tourism department. Hence, the function below is formed:

Tourism = f (tourism department)


There are a few methods which can be used in order to search and gather the information that we needed such as by gathering the information from the internet. But mostly all data are collected through the secondary data. Based on my title which focuses on the ecotourism, I am referring to the news article which published by The Star, beside we were gone through the government website to get the current news to get the tourism issues, activities, government gazette and also the government statistical data. Those articles that related with my topic in internet also can be using as reference especially those research paper done passed researcher. Furthermore we compare country between countries in tourism performance.


As we can see that the tourist’s arrival to Malaysia has increase year by year. We know that 1997 is happened Asian financial crisis the following is 2008-2009 global financial crises with epidemic of H1N1 together. However it does not give much impact on our tourism but further increase our percentage of tourist’s arrival. If we compare the amount of tourist in year 1998 with 5.5 million and 2009 with 23.6 million it is already 4.3 times than amount in 1998.

For the data show above which clearly stated that the ranking of Malaysia is in 19th in the world ranking. This can be proved that we still can develop it well to get higher rank in the list so that we can generate more income through tourism. Especially for the 10th Malaysia Plan is planning to improve the country’s position on the global tourism stage and become one of the top ten countries in the world in terms of tourism receipts by 2015.

Based on the data above, we can see that during the period between 1960 until 1970, the employment is significant show that tourism is just contribute a little on economy only. For year 1965 is only contributed 287000 for employment (employment in hotel is 2700 in 1965), however for year 1970 it is slightly increase to become 340000 of employment (employment in hotel is reached 8000 in 1970) which contributed by the tourism. Furthermore, year 1975 tourism is only contributing 419000 employments. If we look seriously beginning from 1990, the employment is contribute a lot by the tourism in hotel industries, however hotel industries is just one of the part from the contribution of tourism, we can see clearly that it is quite potential in develop it. Based on the data show that the there is an increasing trend on employment which generate by the increasing in number of hotel, it can be show beginning from 1990 which is generated 39961 employments by 989 hotels, 1995 generated 67214 employments by 1220 hotels, 2000 generated 78671 employments by 1492 hotels and for year 2005 it generated 79603 employments by 1541 hotels. The opportunities in employment contributed by tourism are determined to achieve 1217000 thereby contributing 11.6% of total employment in year 2007. And the contribution of the Travel & Tourism economy to employment is 1,331,000 jobs in 2010 (Quarter 2).

Government action

By the way it is needed for government action in supporting the tourism sector, without government implementation of policy or action in develop the tourism it is impossible for the tourism to growth itself. To attract more foreign tourists, government is need to create some policy to strengthening the tourism, furthermore it government spending is also important so that the project that government planning can be successful to achieve. There is some action by the government in above such as:


Tourism industry of Malaysia. Retrieved on October 12,2010 from

This year, Malaysia’s focus will be on the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2007, was is aimed at aggressively promoting Malaysia, increasing 4 tourist arrivals, as well as encouraging domestic tourism among Malaysians. Coincidentally, 2007 is also the year of Malaysia’s 50th independence. As such, the Visit Malaysia Year campaign is a timely event to celebrate Malaysia’s golden jubilee. It is an occasion to rejoice and to share with the world the unique qualities and virtues that have shaped Malaysia to be the country that it is today. The VMY 2007 campaign is expected to raise the awareness of foreign tourists to enable them to plan their holidays in Malaysia. For VMY 2007, the country has set a target to attract 20.1 million tourists.Overall, there are over 240 events, of which, 50 being major events and 5 as international mega events. All these events are presented in `One Golden Celebration`. A celebration that brings Malaysia to the world, and the world to Malaysia.

The first event of the year was the Visit Malaysia Year Grand Launch on 6 January by the Honourable Prime Minister of Malaysia in the presence 500 international media and trade representatives from all over the world. Highlight of the Grand Launch was the unveiling of the Eye on Malaysia, which is a 60-metre Ferris Wheel followed by the Flora Fest Parade, a spectacular display of floats dressed in all kinds of flowers found in Malaysia.The other mega events include the Malaysian International Aerospace Adventure, the International Fireworks Display, the Malaysian International Tattoo and the KL International Buskers Festival.

2. Malaysia My Second Home Programme

Malaysia My Second Home Programme .Retrieved on October 12, 2010 from

Malaysia My Second Home Programme is promoted by the Government of Malaysia to allow foreigners who fulfill certain criteria, to stay in Malaysia for as long as possible on a multiple-entry social visit pass. The Social Visit Pass is initially for a period of ten (10) years, and is renewable. It is open to citizens of countries recognised by Malaysia, regardless of race, religion, gender or age. The programme allows applicants to bring with them their spouses, parents and children. Foreign spouses of Malaysians and expatriates who wish to retire in Malaysia after expiry of their Employment Passes are also eligible to apply to stay in Malaysia on this programme. Applicants are allowed to bring their spouses, unmarried children below the age of 21 and parents above the age of 60 as dependants.

3. One Malaysia-Endless Experience

Tourism Malaysia launches ‘One Malaysia-Endless Experience’ campaign in New Delhi. Retrieved on October 12, 2010 from

The campaign was launched by Dato Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen, Tourism Minister, Malaysia in New Delhi. The packages have been made available to Indian travellers travelling to Kuala Lumpur, and other tourism destinations in Malaysia from five major Indian cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The package is being offered by Tourism Malaysia in partnership with Malaysia Airlines and Malaysian hospitality partners.

As per the package, Indian travellers can avail a four-day/three-night package tour to Kuala Lumpur for Rs 17,000, comprising return airfare and accommodation. The travellers can also travel beyond Kuala Lumpur to destinations like Langkawi, Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, etc. for Rs 19,500 from five Indian cities. Through this promotional drive Tourism Malaysia is expecting to further enhance the sale of these destinations and products across all travel segments from India including ones like G3A (Golden 3rd Age); SSS (Super Smart Shoppers) and FET (Family Enrichment Tourism).


Ministry of Tourism Launches ‘Fabulous Food 1 Malaysia Food Trail 2009″ Booklet- The Route To The Best Food in Malaysia. Retrieved on October 12, 2010 from

The main objective for the Ministry to produce the “Fabulous Food 1Malaysia Food Trail 2009” booklet, a brainchild of YB Dato’ Dr. Sri Ng, to harness upon the attractions in the food sector and entrench them as outstanding products of Malaysia’s food tourism. The “Fabulous Food 1Malaysia Food Trail 2009” booklet features “10 Best” entries shortlisted out of the total 120 listings of restaurants, delicatessens and hawker stalls from the respective categories of the Nasi Lemak, Laksa and Meat Bone Tea. Among others, the listings were based on the quality of food, customer service and cleanliness. Since the launch of the website, over 25,658 fellow Malaysians and global foodies have joined the very tantalizing quest to investigate the rich diversity of Malaysian local food varieties frequented by patrons of all social levels who in turn recommended their findings in the website.

5. October 12

Based on the news from The Star on Saturday October 24, 2009 reported that by the way of aggressive and innovative measures to attract FDI, our country government will spending RM899mil in 2010 for the tourism industry. The Main planned to be implemented is including attracting more tourists from Britain, Japan, South Korea, Middle East, India and China to participate in the Malaysia My Second Home programme. However, attraction will be successful by upgrading the quality of infrastructure in tourism centers throughout the country, this is the most important such as ecotourism development and upgrading homestay facilities; and ensuring front liners are locals.


Recommendation to better improve the tourism industry to known by others country and attraction foreign tourist to generate our GDP will be identified after the full research has been completed.

The Ecotourism Development in Malaysia. Retrieved on October 12,2010 from

There are such ways to improve Malaysia ecotourism. As we know, we have many ecotourism place included Wildlife Protection Act, the National Park Act, the National Forestry Act, the Fisheries Act and the State Park Enactment (Pahang). These protected areas are gazetted under the various federal and state. The Department of Wildlife and National Parks, the Forestry Department, the Fisheries Department and the various

State Parks authorities have been responsible for managed these place.

First ways is ours tourism and travel agencies should be more creative to promoted ecotourism to attract more foreign tourist because government give many incentives to them. Creative means travel agencies should provide more packages for student, family, group and others. These packages will attract more tourists to visit Malaysia also attract local tourist. Local tourist actually more demand than foreign tourist because local tourists want different experience in the place they visit. Travel and tours agency also should use internet reservation to get more people use their services.

Next, government should provide more facilities in the ecotourism area and to go there. For example, access roads, jetties and some amenities. Every year government give budget to improve our transportation systems. For instance, government upgrading of Jalan Kuching-Sibu from Simpang Julau to Sibu Airport Interchange Phase I of the cost of RM176.5 million and the upgrading of Jalan Kuching-Sibu from Simpang Julau to Sibu Airport Interchange Phase II (RM10.3 million). Besides, governments have been providing funds to develop infrastructure facilities at various ecotourism destinations and RM 10 million was allocated between 1996 and 2000 to implement five ecotourism projects as pioneers

The other ways is this effort from government must support by local people and private sector. So the implementation will be easy and more successfully. Private sector should provide some funds, services and technical consultancy to help Malaysia’s government to attract more tourists local and foreign. Local communities can contribute to the employment, protecting the environment and shows a good behaviour.

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