Community-based ecotourism (CBET)

June 12, 2017

Malaysia Placeholder
Malaysia

Community-based ecotourism (CBET)

About the Implementing organization

Name: Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) Society

Country: Malaysia

Year of establishment: 2007

Type of organization: Legally recognized non-profit status

Description

In 2014, we saw an incredible potential in Kiulu as an ecotourism destination with its picturesque landscapes, clear flowing rivers and lush paddy fields.
Using our knowledge and expertise in tourism through our sister company Borneo Eco Tours (BET), we are able to transfer the skills and knowledge to the local community of Kiulu involved in the Kiulu Farmstay development project. By establishing this project, we are able to create employment opportunities through the development of additional tourism activities besides homestay such as The Fig Tree farmstay, river tubing, hiking, quad biking, fish spa and others. This, in turn, will bring economic transformation. The community-based ecotourism project does not only make them employees but also managers. This in a way creates a sense of belonging and ownership towards Kiulu Farmstay.

This project would add value to the existing homestay program (who rarely see visitors coming to experience their hospitality) and provide an additional place of interest for nature lovers. Existing facilities would be upgraded and new tourism products developed to attract both international and domestic tourists.

Kiulu Farmstay is built based on this principle, to empower local communities by building capacity through a series of job opportunities created here. With this fundamental belief, we try to include participation from the locals as much as we can by giving them the opportunity to grow and learn in the process.

Nature Element

Forests / Rivers / Grasslands

Type of Action

Awareness and education

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

Environmental Impacts

Part of the Kiulu Farmstay project is the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), which has been introduced to the Kiulu community, which works by changing the management of the plants, soil, water and nutrients utilised in paddy rice production. SRI is not a technology, but a set of ideas and principles that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly than the conventional method, which requires the excessive usage of pesticides and herbicides. Unlike in conventional rice, SRI plants only one seedling per hill and the hills are spaced more widely than usual, which drastically reduces the density of seedlings required for planting. Therefore, only 5 – 7.5 kg of seed is required to plant 1 hectare, instead of about 50 kg/ha in conventional practice. Since the nursery area is reduced and only needed for fourteen days, costs are considerably reduced. SRI method can also save up to nearly 50% in water without any yield loss. This method is also known to bring more yield.

Sustainable Development Impacts

Part of the Kiulu Farmstay project is the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), which has been introduced to the Kiulu community, which works by changing the management of the plants, soil, water and nutrients utilised in paddy rice production. SRI is not a technology, but a set of ideas and principles that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly than the conventional method, which requires the excessive usage of pesticides and herbicides. Unlike in conventional rice, SRI plants only one seedling per hill and the hills are spaced more widely than usual, which drastically reduces the density of seedlings required for planting. Therefore, only 5 – 7.5 kg of seed is required to plant 1 hectare, instead of about 50 kg/ha in conventional practice. Since the nursery area is reduced and only needed for fourteen days, costs are considerably reduced. SRI method can also save up to nearly 50% in water without any yield loss. This method is also known to bring more yield.

Scalability

While implementing projects that improve the lives of locals who are living in a state of poverty, BEST Society is also creating projects that are transferable to other parts of Sabah and is ready to share its knowledge with interested NGOs around the globe. This is possible through the active involvement of BEST Society Chairman, Albert Teo who has been leading his team to achievement by promoting sustainable tourism concepts through the creation of employment and nurturing social entrepreneurship skills for local communities.

Albert Teo has not only participated in ecotourism forums and workshops as a guest speaker to share about the projects that BEST Society has undertaken but has also organised international Eco-Tourism Conferences and facilitated educational field trips for staff and students on ecotourism, environmental conservation as well as local community empowerment and capacity building projects.

Replicability

Today, more tourists are opting to travel to destinations that are off-the-beaten-path, authentic and sustainable. Community-Based Eco-Tourism has been used to create more of these kinds of destinations to accommodate the demands of various types of visitors to a state or country. This form of ecotourism is not difficult to implement and is usually a positive practice that promotes sustainability in tourism.

CBET is also a good way to promote pristine natural environments as well as rich heritage and cultures so that they can be continued to be preserved and protected by the local communities and indigenous people. However, irresponsible and unsustainable tourism practices can exhaust natural resources and exploit local communities. It is important that approaches to CBET projects be a part of a larger community development strategy and carefully planned with community members to ensure that desired outcomes are consistent with the community’s aspiration, culture and heritage.

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