Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Sandakan’s eco-camp launched to support eco-tourism

SANDAKAN: A community project to provide eco-tourism opportunities for the local community to build a sustainable future was launched yesterday.

The Tungog Rainforest Eco-camp at Pin Supu Forest Reserve at Batu Putih-Kinabatangan, which was launched by Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, forms part of the wider sustainable tourism project initiated by WWF-Malaysia, known as Model Ecologically Sustainable Community Tourism (Mescot).

It has direct participation by the local Batu Puteh community, which established a community-run cooperative, Kopel (Koperasi Pelancongan) to promote eco-tourism activities since 1997.

The eco-camp, nestled next to a pristine ox-bow lake some 10 minutes from the Batu Puteh jetty, is expected to provide a sustainable livelihood for some 100 young people of Batu Puteh who are members of Kopel, a community-run cooperative initiated for this tourism-related venture.

It can accommodate up to 30 guests at any one time to stay and live in harmony with the surrounding forest environment.

The eco-camp concept involves providing a place to stay within the natural forest environment, with a particular focus on nature education, eco-tourism and research.

Local youths, as partners of the project, will be able to share the knowledge of the rich natural and cultural heritage of the area with the local and foreign visitors.

While Mescot launched a series of successful eco-tourism initiatives, including a home stay programme, handicraft cottage industry, boat and guide service, the Tungog eco-camp is expected to accelerate the transformation of economic activities among members of Kopel in the near and long term.


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