via Jakarta Globe (http://jakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/sustainable-tourism-seen-key-coral-triangle-conservation/)
Jakarta. Business and government leaders from six Asia-Pacific countries in the so-called Coral Triangle zone have called for the adoption of sustainable tourism guidelines and standards for development and investment in protected maritime zones.
The 4th Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security (CTI-CFF) Regional Forum gathered representatives from six pioneering countries — Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste — in Nusa Dua, Bali, from Thursday till Saturday.
In a policy round table at the forum, participants agreed that guidelines for sustainable tourism in the Coral Triangle could be largely built upon existing globally available guidelines, but with some tailored components specific to local conditions and revised to be made relevant to all potential tourism-related sectors.
These guidelines include those established by international organizations such as the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, according to a statement obtained by the Jakarta Globe on Monday.
Francis Lee, president of Singaporean resort Raffles Marina who was among the forum speakers, said that the adoption of standards for investments would not only boost efforts to conserve marine resources but also create shared values.
“Value creation, recognition, integration, management and realization, are imperative to sustainability, as they are to development,” said Lee.
Businesses also urged the governments of the six nations involved to work with the private sector and offer appropriate incentives — or remove disincentives — to encourage them to utilize sustainability standards.
“The private sector needs to understand that no tourism is possible without sustainability, but when the government lacks resources, the private sector should stand hand in hand to protect the area,” Ismail Ning, chairman of the Indonesian Marine Tourism Association (Gahawisri), said in the statement.
The participants also endorsed a plan to create a tourism branding and marketing mechanism for specific areas in the Coral Triangle that meets sustainable marine tourism standards. Such a mechanism should also reflect the values of the Coral Triangle countries and ensure a high-quality visitor experience.
“We hope that the three-day forum will provide solid recommendations that allow more stakeholders to be more committed in practicing sustainable marine tourism at their respected countries, for the long run,” said Widi Pratikto, executive director of the CTI-CFF regional secretariat.
The event was attended by more than 300 participants from over 20 countries, including high-ranking government officials such as the minister of tourism and culture from Malaysia Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, minister of tourism of Solomon Islands Bartholomew Parapolo and Indroyono Soesilo, the recently fired coordinating minister for maritime affairs who now serves as an honorary adviser to Indonesia’s minister of tourism.