Literature Review of Sustainable Tourism
During the second half of the twentieth century, tourism industries become an integral part of the country economy growth. One of the earliest tourism was mass tourism; this kind of tourism did not take fully ‘sustainability’ into account. After several years, most of the countries realised that they are facing problems and issues associated with tourism industry (by the tourist and tourism entrepreneurs) either on the country’s economics, social and environment i.e. impacts that can be positive and negative. Due to this, new form of tourism emerged – sustainable tourism, as an alternative to the classic mass tourism.
Concepts of Sustainability Tourism: Ecotourism
After 1960, sustainability has become a commonly used term, however, the definition of term or concepts of ‘sustainable’ is ambiguous. This is due to the lack of guidelines, and some countries and researchers’ theories have different perspectives and interpretations. The notion that tourism could be “sustainable” is part of the dialogue on sustainable development.
The WT0-OMT defines sustainable tourism as “sustainable tourism development meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protection and enhancing opportunities for the future. It is envisaged as leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems”.
The concept of sustainable tourism has moved beyond the narrowly defined concepts of ecotourism to embrace all aspects of tourism. For instance, the WTO-OMT, within the “sustainable tourism” catchphrase is included matters connected to rural development, ecotourism, environmental impact, cultural and natural heritages, urban development, alternative tourism, indigenous people, wildlife, natural parks and etc. One of the essential key features of sustainable tourism is making optimal use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity.
Ecotourism is a segment form of sustainable tourism - all forms of tourism can become more sustainable but not all forms of tourism can be ecotourism.
"Ecotourism is environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy, study and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural features - both past and present), that promotes conservation, has low visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations". (IUCN, 1996)
Ecotourism operates differently from other form of tourism industry, because it involves conserving natural areas, educating visitors about sustainability and beneficiating the local people. Most of the ecotourist are attracted in pristine areas and in the wilderness settings. However, it is crucial to implement proper planning and management to ecotourism’s development, or else it will threaten the biological upon which it depends and the tourism becomes overwhelming; mass tourism.
According to some scholars, there are various stakeholders or actors involve ensuring ecotourism meets the criteria of sustainable tourism. The stakeholders are 1) Tourists; 2) Natural areas and their managers, including both public and private areas; 3) Business practitioners including various combination of local business, in-bound, outbound operators, hotel and other accommodation providers, restaurants and so on; 4) Non-government organization, such as environmental and rural-development NGO.
Today, many responsible business practitioners are working successfully around the globe to create well-planned kind of sustainable tourism. Theses business practitioners can be local or international, and range from seasonal community-run and family operations to medium –scale outbound operators to medium-scale outbound operators.
However, most countries probably have more tour operators that do not follow responsible guidelines than those that do. Additionally, tour operators have been hesitant to develop their own reporting systems, making it difficult to statistically document ecotourism’s overall performance. One of the issues that could associate with ecotourism is ‘greenwashing’. This is due to there been no universally accepted and adopted certification program for ecotourism, tour operator may market their tourism as ‘ecotourism’ while in reality they are ‘greenwashing’. Greenwasher are dishonest tourism operators who embrace ecotourism as new marketing strategy.
Hence, the government and Non-government organization should work hand in hand in monitoring practices; omit such greenwasher tour operators and control the number of tourism entering the country in order to avoid mass tourism.
Tourism Background In Brunei Darussalam
Brunei Darussalam is highly dependent on Oil and Gas production, however the Brunei Government realised that the price of oil is fragile and could influence the country’s economy as whole. Currently, the government is trying to diversify their economy. One of the industries that Brunei focusing is Tourism Industry. Technically, tourism industry in Brunei Darussalam is however in its elementary state. According to MIPR Brunei, the number of tourist arrived in Brunei has rose gradually from 118,900 in 2004 and 157,464 2009, though in comparison with tourism in Southeast Asia, these figure account approximately 0.3% of the region’s tourist arrivals.
Early 1996, Brunei Darussalam developed an early drafted masterplan that acknowledges Brunei Darussalam is still underdeveloped. This masterplan emphasis about the potential of ecotourism instead of mass tourism. Brunei Darussalam has several advantages toward implementation of ecotourism; for instance, highly stable political condition with a buoyant economy, and high quality of infrastructures and communication. Furthermore, Brunei still retain its rich culture and tradition, clean environment, free from pollution and variety of fauna and flora that be promoted as ecotourism destination. Moreover, its strategic location within Southeast Asian region gives it greater advantage in providing gateway to other ecotourism destination found in Borneo such as Mulu caves.
Site for Ecotourism in Brunei Darussalam
Approximately 75% of 5,679 km2 of country size is cover with primary tropical forest; Brunei Darussalam showcases interesting and unique natural places of ecotourist. It consist of two well know pristine national parks namely; Ulu Temburong National Park and Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park, as well as recreational forests in Brakas, Bukit Shahbandar, Bukit Subuk and so on, apart from that other colourful mangroce and marine ecosystem as in Brunei Bay and Pelong Rock.
Ecotours in Brunei Darussalam
Within the tourism industry, a few travel agencies have initiated packaged tours to the natural areas in the country. One such package is the “Tropical Forest Tour” which visits the alluvial swamp of the Luagan Lalak Recreational Park, and involves trekking along the undisturbed forest tracks at Sungai Liang Recreational Park, and visiting one of the Iban longhouses in Rempayoh all within the rural confinement of Belait District.
Another involves overnight stays at Ulu Temburong National Park that allows visitors to roam around the park’s rainforest along the elevated boardwalks, witness its wildlife from observation huts and tree houses, and experience a bird’s eye view of the forest from the canopy walkway. Visitors may encounter an indigenous cultural experience participating.
Visitor in Brunei
As recorded by Brunei Museum, the number of visitor form 1984 to 1985 to Tasek Merimbun raised gradually recorded 5,100 people with average daily of 45 people. However, it has decreased substantially over the years. Virtually all visitors to the park are day-trippers due to the lack of accommodation, and they would usually stay for just maximum 3 hours at Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park.
According to Annual Summit on Business and Entrepreneurial Studies (2011), the demand for Ecotourism (tourist would go for walking/hiking/trekking) is low only accounted for 19% of the tourists, this might be due to lack of the transportation and information because the tourist are basically on independent arrangement to Brunei without using travel agencies (only 9.5% heard about Brunei from travel agents) and 10% from Brunei Tourism Collateral.
Hence, the ‘actors’ of ecotourism plays and important to promote ecotourism internationally as Brunei officially reflected in the 7th National Development Plan that suggests that the future of ecotourism in Brunei Darussalam is ‘very promising’.
Due to the fact that most of the visitor in Brunei Darussalam are youngster and single (AUSE, 2011), they are generally adventures. The ‘actors’ in the industry could provide more for them by providing travel programmes such as sightseeing, hiking, jungle trekking, camping in the wood and etc.
The tourism operators or guided tour could promote and market the ‘green’ tourism or ecotourism by promoting with cheaper price, reliable and quality package as many of the tourists are on independent arrangement.
Brunei Darussalam identifies this as a feasible economic long run means to help sustain growth and development in the country beyond the twenty-first century. The small but beautiful state is well endowed with primary forests, which cover a large proportion of the land. Ecotourism, a formula for sustainable development, is an appropriate vehicle for diversifying the economy and at the same time reinforcing environmental protection through the conservation of natural areas. However, in order to sustainable ‘sustainability’, all relevant stakeholder as well as government should constantly monitoring the impacts, inducing the necessary preventive and/or corrective measure whenever necessary.