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Agro tourism is the form of tourism which capitalizes on rural culture as a tourist attraction. It is similar to ecotourism except that its more to cultural landscape instead of natural landscape.If the attractions on offer to tourists contribute to improving the income of the regional population, agro tourism can promote regional development. To ensure that it also helps to conserve diversity, the rural population itself must have recognized agro biodiversity as valuable and worthy of protection .The agro-ecotourism is synonymous with agro tourism.
Malaysia began its post-Independence economy with an agrarian base, which is prepared to develop agricultural and commodities-based tourism, the hottest niche in eco-tourism today. Recognizing that agro-tourism holds a fascination for both Malaysians and visitors alike, organizers of excursions these days include tours to rubber and oil palm estates, as well as fish farms, flower nurseries and fruit orchards. Fruit orchards have proven especially popular with visitors, not least because they get to enjoy the delicious exotic fruits they are there to learn about how to picking the fruits.
Visits are structured around a tour offering insight into the cultivation, care, processing and manufacturing of these commodities for sale or export. The industry includes crops such as maize, cocoa, rubber, rice, oil palm and a variety of other products from which many Malaysians still earn a living. Many locals and some adventurous visitors invariably seek out orchards dedicated to the famous and sometimes detested king of all fruits, the durian..
A number of these destinations have stay-over facilities with a wide range of non-agricultural activities to enjoy as well, including fishing, kayaking and nature walks. In many cases, full room and board packages are available, meaning that guests get to indulge in local home-cooking as well. Agro-tourism has a number of attractions, both to the visitor and the host. While it provides for interesting visits and discovery, it also serve as research and development hubs for the perpetuation and improvement of the agricultural industry in the country.
What is it?
In agro tourism, we are focusing forest. Forest is the area covered by vegetation of various types and sizes as well as areas inhabited by birds, animals, insects and microorganisms. There are various types of forests in the world of the equatorial rain forest or tropical, monsoon forest, temperate evergreen forest, temperate deciduous forest, needle leaf forest, forest green Constant Hardwood Forest, Savanna rare, shrub and undergrowth others. Among the densest forests covered by plants and animals is the equatorial rain forest. Forests play an important role in establishing ecological system of distribution. Organisms can not survive in isolation and all organisms that are actually affected by things animate or not inanimate object (land, climate, etc.). The basic unit is the ecological functions of ecosystems. Ecosystems are a function of the interaction is contained in them all living organisms, known as a society (community).
Importance of forests to human life is increasing. Forests not only as a source of timber, but also contribute the balance of the forest climate, water resources, food supplies, medicines, ecological distribution systems, and others. The existence of bodies and associations fighting for preservation of forests to increase the awareness to people about the importance of the forest without losing sight of municipal infrastructure. Therefore, there should be a forest reserve where they can conserve forests and promote forest development activities.
Permanent Forest of adequate and secure title to be determined. The areas of land necessary as Permanent Forest Reserve for the purpose of maintaining the stability of environmental protection, production such as the Forest Policy should be determined and declared it as soon as possible. Permanent Forest Reserve shall be managed so as to provide all types of forest products and other benefits to the public. Director General of Forestry is responsible to the Federal Government for Permanent Forest management more efficient and should be completed in order to provide technical assistance, advice and training facilities to state governments.
MALAYSIA AGRICULTURAL PARK
The Malaysian Agriculture Park (1986), is the world’s first ‘agro-forestry park’. With 817 hectares, the park was opened to the public in 1988. It showcases the country’s achievements in agriculture development and serves as a research centre for agriculture, fisheries and animal husbandry. Its beauty and uniqueness have prompted the Ministry to open the general public that they too may savor the splendor and the wealth of the nation’s agriculture heritage. The response to the move has been so encouraging that the park no longer confines itself to just serving the local populace but caters for a fast growing number of foreign tourist as well. The development of Agricultural Park along its agro-forestry concept is an on going process. In due course, more attraction will be developed in accordance with the master plan for the park.
To become a tourism centre with an ultimate agro-forestry concept
To introduce TPM as competitive and eternally tourism centre
To defend agro-forestry concept as tourism attraction
To keep the importance of environment awareness in tourism sector
To be an integrated agricultural-based tourism centre
To be an informative agricultural-based tourism centre in the field of farming, aquaculture and livestock
To be an agricultural-based tourism centre that could also be a centre for scientific researches and studies in the environmental and agricultural field
To be an agricultural-based tourism centre with learning and recreation facility based on Malaysian cultural characteristics
To be an agricultural-based tourism centre that stresses on the environmental sustainability as well flora and fauna
To manage , plan and perform administrative matters and services at the Malaysia Agriculture Park
To plans, maintain as well as conduct matters relating to finance and account of Malaysia Agriculture Park
To make Malaysia Agriculture Park as one of the recreational centres and adapt historical elements based on agriculture that will attract both local and foreign tourists
To make Malaysia Agriculture Park as a reference source in the research field
In recognition of the Park’s excellent contribution to the tourism industry in 1992, Malaysia Agriculture Park was awarded the 1992 Malaysia Tourism Award under Government Sector by The Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism.
The 72-hectare Animal Park is a favourite place for children. They will be thrilled with the rabbit farm, mouse deer area, and farm livestock such as goats, sheep, cattle and many more
Visitors to the glorious formal gardens of Europe marvel at length, the visual beauty and symmetry spread before their enchanted eyes. This grand botanical artistry has been nurtured by centuries-old tradition in Europe, not unlike the elegant rock and water gardens of Japan and other great civilizations. The temperate countries have one disadvantage – the four seasons limit the green display to only part of the year. But visitors to the Agriculture Park can experience the unique splendor of extensive formal gardens at the Ornamental Garden all the year round. The sunny tropical climate makes this beautiful living exhibition a permanent affair.
4 seasons Temperate House
At the Four Seasons Temperature Garden, you will experience the four seasons in an indoor house, thanks to human creativity and technology. Here we can enjoy the beauty of spring, the warmth of summer, the bracing autumn and the coldness of winter.
Spices and beverages garden
To learn more about exotic herbs, medicinal shrubs and beverages plants, the Spices and Beverages Garden is the place to be. We will marvel at the beneficial and healthy uses of such plants grown on the hillsides and spread over 16 hectares. Tea, coffee, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamons are some of spices and beverages plants available here.
Uniquely landscape to resemble a desert in the middle of tropical rainforest offered the opportunity to experience the fascination of cacti, the plants that are usually associated with the dry and arid habitat of the desert. Coverage of 1.3 hectares, Cactus Garden has over 3000 cactus plants from local and imported species.
Tropical fruit garden
Spanning an area of 36 hectares, the Tropical Fruit Garden offers the attraction varieties of local fruits like rambutan, durian, mangosteen, carambola (starfruit), soursop, jack fruit, duku langsat, dokong, ciku and cempedak orchards. For research convenience, the trees are grouped into a number of blocks, such as short-term fruits, long-term fruits, commercial varieties, popular fruits and seasonal fruits.
. An arboretum is a collection of living trees, grown in a specific area like a living album to be savored at leisure. At the arboretum in the Agriculture Park, a 40-hectare expanse of land has been planted with indigenous fruit trees so that visitors may view a comprehensive variety of trees whose fruits have delighted Malaysians for ages. In the fruiting seasons the onlooker may experience the added wonder of seeing the actual fruits at different stages of maturity, still growing and ripening on the trees.
In shifting agriculture, practiced by the Orang Hulu of the Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak, the forested areas are cleared for cultivation with root crops or rice for a period of time after which they move to new areas. At Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam, agro forestry was introduced as a land-use system in which fruit trees and herbaceous crops were grown in association with the large forest trees. Agro forestry has productive functions, such as the capacity of the tree components to produce timber, fruits and herbs and service functions, the most important of which is soil conservation and also fauna and flora conservation. Soil conservation contributes to control of erosion and maintenance of fertility. With the current interest in sustainable agriculture and forestry, the combination of production and conservation of resources is a step in the right direction.
Facilities ( Village and Chalet)
Kampung Idaman, Kampung budaya and Camar rimba
The Malaysian farmer’s dream homestead, the houses feature traditional architecture at its best. The village comprises houses peculiar to the different states of Malaysia. There are varieties design, the houses are as follows Rumah Negeri Sembilan, Rumah Melaka, Rumah Kedah, Rumah Kelantan, Rumah Perak, Rumah Terengganu, Rumah Pahang, Rumah Pulau Pinang, Rumah Johor and Rumah Perlis. Each house is spacious and can comfortably accommodate large families. It is furnished with essential equipment and barbeque pits are available nearby. It are also perfect accommodation for participants of conferences or social functions.
For those who are tough, TPM offer a wide selection of camping sites with more than 100 choices. This place can accommodate large families or groups and is an ideal camping site for school children and social groups. These sites surrounding a large lake for a picnic. Place for barbecue is also available nearby. Other facilities are provided near the amphiteter, prayer room and jungle trekking routes.
Sky trek Adventure Park offers many opportunities for those who like adventure activities. Among the activities that can be done is participate in the challenge across the path in the trees. Big thrill, adventure and extreme little challenge is the path that will challenge awaits visitors who love adventure activities. Big thrill has 23 challenges to be faced by each participant to be completed within 1 hour and a half to 2 hours with a fee of RM35 for 12 years old and above and RM 25 for 12 years old. For the little adventure, there are 15 challenges to be finished in half an hour to 1 hour with a fee of RM25 for all ages. For the challenge is extreme, there are 21 challenges to be carried out within an hour and a half to 2 hours to charge RM40 for all ages.
BATANG AI NATIONAL PARK
Batang Ai National Park is located in the Sri Aman Division of Sarawak, in eastern Malaysia on the island of Borneo. It is located in Lubok Antu, some 250 kilometers east of Kuching. The park covers an area of 240 square kilometers of extensive tropical rainforest with a number or rare and protected animals surrounding the 24 square kilometer artificial lake created by the Batang Ai hydroelectric reservoir. The park was proclaimed in 1991, and has become increasingly popular with locals and tourists despite the lack of facilities.
Access is possible by chartering a boat, as water is the main method of transportation in the area.The lake creates a beautiful environment and gives a sense of peace and tranquility. The local inhabitants are mostly Iban, and tours to nearby Iban longhouses are also a tourist diversion. This national park takes strong steps in having the local communities involved in its management. The communities have formed a cooperative called ‘Kooperasi Serbaguna Ulu Batang Ai’ and are helping to conserve the park
Beyond the artificial lake, more than an hour’s boat ride upriver from the dam, visitors can see beautiful lowland mixed dipterocarp forest, with drooping trees overhanging the rivers. River transport is the main mode of communication here. The rivers are fast flowing, clear and very refreshing. During dry periods, the water level gets quite low and visitors have to help push their boats upstream – an enjoyable experience.
Another major attraction is the Iban longhouses. Visitors can get to experience the authentic longhouse atmosphere as most of the longhouse dwellers still practice their traditional lifestyle. The Ibans also produce local handicrafts, like their ‘Pua Kumbu’, rattan backpacks ‘selabit’, rattan mats and even gourd for collecting water.
At the moment, the National Parks and Wildlife Office does not have any visitor facilities yet. Some private tour companies however, do provide visitor accommodation. Trails are now available in the park. There are 4 trails to choose from and they pass through mixed dipterocarp forest, old secondary forest, active shifting cultivations areas and ancient burial grounds. The Park is located about 250 km from Kuching City. Hilton Longhouse Resort and several longhouses provide accommodation facilities just outside the park.
This Park is unique in having the local communities involved in its management. The communities have formed a cooperative ‘Koperasi Serbaguna Ulu Batang Ai’ and are helping the Forest Department to conserve the park. Visitors are encouraged to use the boating facilities offered by the cooperative as their funds are kept within the community for continued development purposes.
Agro tourism is rapidly carving a niche in Malaysia, especially as the country has a wealth of products to offer locals and visitors alike. Agricultural tourism, as it is formally known, helps by improving incomes and economic potentials of small farms, rural communities and agro-based ventures throughout the country. There is much more to find in Malaysia. Visitors can also help with the locals’ daily chores, feeding the ducks, tending to the vegetables and see how the local communities thrive in today’s fast-paced world. There are also home stays where visitors can discover more of local agro tourism practices. There are also fruit farms and parks where locals and visitors can learn more of agro tourism in Malaysia.
The changing demographics and lifestyles of Malaysia offer opportunities for more closely linking agriculture to consumers. Exploiting these opportunities requires a new set of skills that are somewhat different from those typical of more conventional agriculture. Agri-tourism is direct marketing. Educational programs can assist in promoting the transition to this new agriculture, is contributing to the development of agro-tourism and the new agriculture.
Agro-tourism is an outgrowth of ecotourism, and allows visitors to experience agricultural life first-hand. There is increasing interest in how we manage our resources and sustain ourselves globally, and trends in tourism reflect larger cultural trends in general: social responsibility/altruism, aging travelers seeking a wider range of experiences and “active” travel, and interest in how food/beverage wine is developed both from a health and culinary standpoint. While there will always be demand for traditional sightseeing trips, in recent years there has been an increase in vacations that allow participants to make a difference or give back to the global community. People can volunteer on archaeological digs, help rebuild homes, clean/repair areas devastated by natural disaster, etc.
Agritourism can be successful. It involves a lot of work on the farmers’ part, and they must gain many new skills. Agritourism is a win-win situation if all the key people are involved from the start.
Suggestions and Comment
Legislation of tourism policy, strategy drafting and action planning to encourage developments of national tourism industry.
Checking on implementation of National Tourism Policy which has correlation with the aspect of organization structure, products, marketing, human resources, transportation, tourism guidelines, social culture and macro economy.
Carry out research and development regarding tourism sector.
Planning for construction of new tourism products such as health tourism, education tourism, sports tourism, sail boat tourism, village tourism, specific tourism with special interest and many more.
Develop and migrate tourism data and satellite account of Tourism Malaysia.
Encourage two way communications, local and international incorporation of tourism and tourism promotions.
Attend many national and international forums to develop important in Malaysia for the tourism sector.
Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program which will function as one stop centre to encourage the foreign citizens to obtain information about the program as well as service and advice about the living conditions in Malaysia.
Giving input and suggestion to the Ministry / Department / Agency regarding matters involving tourism field especially about the aspects of incoming foreign tourist to Malaysia.
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