The International Coordinating Council (ICC) of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme has formally inducted Malaysia’s Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve into the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
With this designation, the Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve, which comprises 12,481 hectares of marine and terrestrial ecosystems in the north-western part of Penang Island, will be counted among a distinguished global network of 714 Biosphere Reserves across 129 countries.
Biosphere Reserves the world over are celebrated for their exceptional biodiversity and distinct social landscapes as well as for their potential to demonstrate innovative ways of living in harmony with nature.
“This designation is a recognition of the rich natural and cultural heritage of Penang Island and an opportunity to be part of the Man and the Biosphere programme which is a unique platform for international collaboration,“ The Habitat Penang Hill and The Habitat Foundation said in a press statement.
Under the leadership of the Penang Hill Corporation, with the contribution of many state and federal government agencies involved in the preparation and eventual submission of the nomination dossier, the Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve now features not only the timeless forests of Penang Hill but also encompasses the state’s forest reserves, the historic Penang Botanical Gardens, Penang National Park, and coastal and marine ecosystems in an unbroken link from the hill to the sea.
Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association (MITA) president, Uzaidi Udanis, said: “With this latest international recognition, Penang will have a new world-class attraction which should be promoted for tourists. MITA will organise a recce for its members to see and experience the places for themselves.”
Adam Kamal, head of contracting & domestic market at Ice Holidays, told TTG Asia that the recognition would raise curiosity about the destination and boost domestic and international visitor numbers once interstate and Malaysian borders reopen.
“The internationally recognised accolade makes it easier for us to promote Penang,” Kamal commented.