Main Article Content

Serina Rahman
Harinder Rai Singh


Marine tourism is a growing industry in Malaysia, with most tourism infrastructure and development focused on famous islands and sandy beaches. Less well-known areas on the south-west coast of the Peninsular such as Sungai Pulai that feature coastal mangroves and seagrass meadows are unfortunately not given emphasis. This paper outlines the potential of the mangrove and seagrass habitats of Sungai Pulai for marine tourism as well as its possible impacts (positive and negative) on its local communities. It is essential that local communities within the tourism realm are actively involved and have a say in tourism development and that they stand to benefit economically. This paper uses the example of Mukim Tg Kupang, Johor as an area that has marine tourism potential, even though it does not fall into the ‘typical' expectation of sandy beaches and beautiful dive sites. Strategies to ensure local community participation and benefits include environmental awareness through education and enhancing communication skills of the locals in their efforts to preserve their marine habitat. A holistic approach to marine tourism via the understanding of their physical and biological environment as well as intellectual and aesthetic development creates the capacity to enhance marine conservation.


Keywords: Local communities, environmental education, conservation, marine, tourism management


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details



Nurul Amin, S.M., Arshad, A., Ara, R., Daud, S.K., & Mazlan, A.G. (2009). Abundance and temporal distribution of fish larvae in the seagrass bed of Sungai Pulai Estuary, Johore, Peninsular Malaysia. Presentation for the 8th Indo-Pacific Fish Conference and 2009 Australian Society for Fish Biology Workshop and Conference, 31 May – 5 June 2009.
Choo, C.K., Rahman, S., & Khor, H.M. (2009). S.O.S. Files a journey to Sungai Pulai. Gelang Patah: Save our seahorses.
Christie, M.F., & Mason, P.A. (2003). Transformative tour guiding: Training tour guides to be critically reflective practitioners. Journal of Ecotourism 2(1),1-16.
Coconut Village Resort (n.d.). Scuba diving @ Pulau Sibu/ Pulau Tinggi. Coconut Village Resort, Pulau Sibu. Retrieved September 15, 2010 from
Cole, S. (2006). Information and empowerment: The keys to achieving sustainable tourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 14(6), 629-644.
Cukier, J. (2006). Tourism employment issues in developing countries: Examples from Indonesia. In R. Sharpley & D.J. Telfer (eds.), Tourism and development: Concepts and issues. New Delhi: Viva Books Private
Limited, 2006.
Sea Gypsy Village Resort & Dive Base Official Website (n.d.). Dan’s nasty frogmen, dan’s nasty divesites. Retrieved September 15, 2010 from
Diamantis, D. (2004). Ecotourism: Management and assessment. London: Thomson Learning.
Eagles, P.F.J., McCool, S.F., & Haynes, C.D. (2002). Sustainable tourism in protected areas: Guidelines for planning and management. Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: International Union for Conservation and Natural
Hall, C.M. (2001). Trends in ocean and coastal tourism: The end of the last frontier? Ocean & Coastal Management 44, 601-618.
Howe, V. (2001). Local community training and education in Southern Tanzania – A case study. Marine Policy, 25, 445-455.
Jacobson, S.K., & Robles, R. (1992). Ecotourism, sustainable development, and conservation education: Development of a tour guide training program in Tortuguero, Costa Rica. Environmental Management 16(6), 701-713.
Japar, S.B., Zakaria, M.H., & Arshad, A. (2006). Distribution and significance of seagrass ecosystems in Malaysia. Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management, 9(2), 203-214.
Jensen, O. (2010). Social mediation in remote developing world tourism locations –The significance of social ties between local guides and host communities in sustainable tourism development. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 18(5), 615-633.
Kibicho, W. (2008). Community-based Tourism: A factor-cluster segmentation approach. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 16(2), 211-221.
Luck, M. (2003). Education on marine mammal tourist as agent for conservation – But do tourists want to be educated? Ocean & Coastal Management, 46, 943-956.
Marine Park Department (n.d.). Total of visitors in Marine Park from year 2000 to year 2009. Department of Marine Park Malaysia. Retrieved September 15, 2010 from
Mbaiwa, J.E. & Stronza, A.L. (2010). The effects of tourism development on rural livelihoods in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 18(5), 635-656.
McNeely, J.A. (2005). Friends for life – New partners in support of protected areas. Gland: IUCN.
Nepal, S.J. (2004). Indigenous ecotourism in Central British Columbia: The potential for building capacity in the Tl’azt’en nations territories. Journal of Ecotourism, 3(3), 173-194.
Newsome, D., Moore, S.A. & Dowling, R.K. (2006). Aspects of tourism: Natural area tourism (First Indian Ed.). New Delhi: Viva Books Private Limited.
Okazaki, E. (2008). A community-based tourism model: Its conception and use. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 16(5), 511-529.
Pipinos, G., & Fokiali, P. (2007). An assessment of the attitudes of the inhabitants of Northern Karpathos, Greece: Towards a framework for ecotourism development in environmentally sensitive areas: An ecotourism framework
in environmentally sensitive areas. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 11(3), 655-675. RAMSAR (year). The annotated RAMSAR List: Malaysia. The RAMSAR convention on wetlands. Retrieved September 15, 2010 from, 168%5E16529_4000_0__. Sasekumar, A., Leh, C.M.U., Chong, V.C., Rebecca, D., & Audery, M.L. (2006).
The Sungai Pulai (Johore): A unique mangrove estuary. In: S.M. Phang, A. Sasekumar, S. Vickineswary (eds.), Malaysian society of marine science, (pp. 191-211). Universiti Malaya Kuala Lumpur.
Save Our Seahorses. (n.d.). Volunteers program. Save our seahorses Malaysia. Retrieved September 15, 2010 from
Stem, C.J., Lassoie, J.P., Lee, D.R., Deshler, D.D., & Schelhas, J.W. (2003). Community participation in ecotourism benefits: The link to conservation practices and perspectives. Society & Natural Resources 16(5), 387-413.
Timothy, D.J. (2006). Tourism and community development issues. In R. Sharpley
& D.J. Telfer (eds.), Tourism and development: Concepts and issues. New Delhi: Viva Books Private Limited.
Tourism Johor. (n.d.). Tanjung Piai-Johor national park. Tourism Malaysia official website. Retrieved September 15, 2010 from 8EAE88AD83B1730E.
Tourism Malaysia. (n.d.). Tourism arrivals and receipts in Malaysia. Tourism Malaysia research. Retrieved September 2015, 2010 from
Tourism Malaysia (n.d.). Tanjung Piai National Park. Tourism Malaysia Destinations. Retrieved September 15, 2010 from
Walter, P. (2009). Local knowledge and adult learning in environmental adult
education: Community based ecotourism in Southern Thailand.
International Journal of Lifelong Education, 28(4), 513-532.
Wetlands International. (n.d.). RAMSAR sites in Malaysia. Wetlands international: Wetlands for water and life. Retrieved September 15, 2010 from
59/ArticleType/ArticleVi w/ArticleId/128/Ramsar-sites-in-Malaysia.aspx.
Wilson, J.C., & Garrod, B. (2003). Introduction. In B. Garrod & J.C. Wilson (eds.),
Marine ecotourism: Issues and experiences (1st ed.). England: Channel View Publications.
Zaleha, K., Farah Diyana, M., Amira Suhaili, R., & Amirudin, A. (2009). Benthic community of the Sungai Pulai Seagrass Bed, Malaysia. Malaysian Journal of Science, 28(2), 143-159.