The Conceptual vs Reality of Ecotourism Approaches and Strategies in Pangkor Island, Malaysia

  •  Seyedehelham Sadatiseyedmahalleh    
  •  Suraiyati Rahman    
  •  Badaruddin Mohamed    


Small islands are seen as iconic destinations for ecotourism due to their rich natural biodiversity and spectacular surroundings. Malaysia has a substantial number of islands, numbering approximately 878 islands. Pangkor Island is a popular destination among domestic and international tourists alike. However, the tourism industry can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, tourism development can improve quality of life and economic prospects of local communities; and on the other hand, it may inflict to destruction on the island’s sensitive ecosystem. Natural environment is the core attraction for Pangkor Island. However, the extensive development undertaken to match the high intensity of tourist arrivals can lead to deleterious effect on the natural environment and diminish the overall quality of the tourists’ experience. This paper attempts to explore the dichotomy between ecotourism concept and tourism development in Pangkor by exploring protection strategies and ecotourism management approaches in relation to Pangkor Island. The findings described in this paper are based on an evaluation of the existing planning strategies concerning tourism development, environmental conservation, observation and interviews with visitors in Pangkor Island. Lack of environmental practice among tour operators has led to significant threat to the island’s ecosystem. Consequently, Pangkor Island require imperative attention in ensuring the sustainability of the ecosystem. Planning and development strategies for managing Pangkor and adjacent smaller islands need to be taken into consideration by acknowledging baseline conditions and present day realities.

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