Take stock of initiatives to address climate change: DPM
KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has called on Pacific Asia Travel Association (Pata) members to exchange and take-stock of information and initiatives to address climate change and its adverse effects on natural places of attraction, as well as tourism businesses and activities.
Noting that climate change was one of the biggest concerns of tourism, he said that perhaps, there was a need to identify new measures and further strengthen existing ones to mitigate the repercussions of climate change on travel and tourism.
He pointed out that the United Nations World Tourism Organisation had warned global tourism industries of severe threats, such as rise in sea level, loss of crop yields and extreme weather condition, which directly impacted tourism and its niche products.
"Tourist attractions, hence tourism commercial activities, in the Asia Pacific region largely consist of nature exploration and its natural environment and ecology. Therefore, concerted efforts by all parties are necessary to protect these priceless resources," he said when opening the 2012 Pata Annual Conference themed, 'Building the Business Beyond Profits', here today.
Also present at the conference which attracted 600 Pata members and the international media was Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.
Muhyiddin said, with the process of globalisation and development occuring rapidly, private entities in Asia Pacific regions should fully comprehend the fact that nature and green environment must not be simply sacrificed for the sake of expanding commercial margins.
"The business community, government authorities and even non-governmental organisations must work earnestly together, to develop new strategies and business models that take into account, environment sustainability mechanisms and protection," he said.
Disclosing Malaysia's testimony commitment in protecting the environment and natural resource, Muhyiddin pointed out that Malaysia was recently recognised as the third best in Asia Pacific and 25th best among 132 countries last year in the Environmental Performance Index.
He also paid tribute to Pata, the foremost authority on travel and tourism in Asia Pacific, for their contribution to the growth of tourism in Asia and Pacific countries and in Malaysia, by the collective efforts of its members.
He said, according to the World Tourism Organisation forecast on international arrival which would reach one billion tourists by 2020 and 1.8 billion by 2030, it had indicated that the Asia and Pacific area would gain most.
In addition, the Asia and Pacific countries will enjoy an increased share of the global tourist market, from 22 per cent last year to 30 per cent in 2030.
Muhyiddin said Malaysia expected the tourism industry to contribute RM103.6 billion in Gross National Income by 2020, with arrivals increasing to 36 million in the said year, representing an increase of 45 per cent from 2011.
He said Malaysia's most popular tourist-niche programme was the Malaysian Homestay, which allowed tourists and travellers to experience the roots of Malaysian culture and lifestyle in the countryside.
"The uniqueness of the Malaysian Homestay package is that it culminates the best of all the three factors - environment, social and culture," he said. -- BERNAMA