CHAPTER complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain, or



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The United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) encourage participation of the local population
in the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage and provide
emergency assistance for World Heritage sites in immediate danger to preserve
the cultural and natural resources from the extinction and to encourage
international cooperation in the conservation of our world’s cultural and
natural heritage (UNESCO World Center). To be declared as World Heritage Site,
the site must be an already classified landmark, unique in some respect as a
geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or
physical significance such as an ancient ruin or historical structure,
building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain,
or wilderness
area. The program catalogues,
names, and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common culture and heritage
of humanity.
Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage
Fund. The program began with the Convention
Concerning the Protection of the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage which
was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972. Since
then, 193 state parties have ratified the convention, making it one of the most
widely recognized international agreements and the world’s most popular
cultural program. The countries have been divided by the World Heritage Committee into five geographic zones which is Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America, and Latin America and the Caribbean. As of July 2017, there are a total of 1,073 World Heritage Sites were declared. The Taj Mahal is an example of cultural heritage site, the Serengeti National Park is an example of natural heritage site and the Historic Sanctuary
of Machu Picchu is an example of
mixed heritage site. The United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has designated and
declared four World Heritage Sites in Malaysia
which is Kinabalu Park, Gunung Mulu National Park, Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the
Straits of Malacca, and Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong
Valley (UNESCO, 2015). The Kinabalu National Park, located in northwest Sabah, is
the Malaysia’s first declaration of UNESCO World Heritage Site. The declaration of Kinabalu Park as a UNESCO
World Heritage site was made at the World Heritage Conference in
Cairn Australia in December 2000. Kinabalu Park had been designated as
Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site in the natural site category
(The Board of Trustees of the Sabah Parks, 2017)




Mount Kinabalu is the Southeast Asia’s
highest peak, and the Kinabalu Park is established as one of the
first national parks of
Malaysia in 1964 and the first world natural heritage site of Malaysia. Kinabalu
National Park had been designated as Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site in
the natural site category in December 2000 (Sabah Park, 2017) making it the
first World Heritage Site in Malaysia (UNESCO World Heritage Center 2012).
Located on the island of Borneo, the park accommodates one of the highest plant
diversities in the world. The main attraction
at the Park is the Mount Kinabalu, one of the highest mountains in South East
Asia standing at 4095.2 metres. Tourism has been introduced to the park since
its designation as national park back in 1964 with the expectation that tourism
would help to generate financial revenue to sustain the park management and has
remained significant since its establishment. In 2009, the park received a
total of 424,213 visitors. Foreign visitors made up nearly one-fifth of the
total (18.7%). The revenue collected from Kinabalu Park for the period 1988 to
2002 ranged from RM 2.65 million to RM5.38 million, and the total tourism
income generated in Kinabalu Park was RM10.6 million as of 2008.  The
management of Sabah Parks utilized the revenue for the maintenance and
improvement of the tourists’ facilities available in these parks (Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nation, 2004).


Tourism is a one of the major activities in
Malaysia, and it has often been regarded as an industry specially involving
varieties of people sharing their socio-cultural behavior, ecosystem and
economic transaction through the interaction. Tourism in Malaysia has also been
regarded as a good source of its economic earnings. As a matter of fact,
tourists from abroad often come to this land to the natural beauty and to
observe their culture and heritage. It is estimated that tourism provides
direct and indirect employment to at least 200 million people and it was
forecasted that tourism related jobs throughout the world would generate 350
million works in this connection by the year 2005 (Smith, 1995). Sabah is best
known for its natural tropical beauty, a history and its art culture. The state
of Sabah has been widely promoted as a prime tourist destination for those
seeking to experience unique nature, culture and adventure due to its unique
natural and cultural resources as well as pristine landscape and environment. Sabah
received an all-time high of 3.43 million tourist arrivals and RM7.25 billion
tourism receipts in 2016 (Sabah State Tourism, Culture and Environment
Ministry, 2017). Total tourist arrivals increase in 7.9 per cent of 3,176,226
visitors, while tourism receipts rose 9.7 per cent from RM6.61 billion in 2015.
There is two type of tourism activity that offered in Sabah, which is the
eco-tourism and the socio-cultural tourism and become the main attraction of
tourist from the country and all over the world. Mohamed et al., 2006 have
given special importance to island tourism in Malaysia and believe that due to
some special geographical location, the country may go for popularizing
ecotourism making them linked with the countryside. The eco-tourism in Sabah
allow generating good income for the people living in the coastal areas and
rural area and eventually it may be a good strategy to reduce poverty among the
local people. While, the socio-cultural impacts of tourism are basically
consequences of either the development of the tourism industry or the presence
of the tourists and the characteristics of the tourist-host relationship
(Sharpley, 1994). The socio-cultural tourism fostering pride in cultural
traditions and help avoid urban relocation by creating local jobs for the local
people in Sabah. Tourism activities offered in Sabah, especially the
eco-tourism in Kinabalu Park are natural resource based and are also with
educational elements using interpretational techniques including exhibition,
signage, brochure, video show and guiding.


The local communities played a vital role in tourism
development as they provide essential services to the visitors and
participation ranges from tourist guides to homestay operators, craftsmen to souvenir
retailers, as well as providing vital inputs in the tourism development
decision making process, especially in the matters that concerning with the
virtual belief and the land of adat. Only
when local communities are involved in decision making can their benefits be
ensured, and their traditional lifestyles and values respected (Sheldon &
Abenoja, 2001). Rural
tourism benefits local communities in terms of stimulating economic growth,
valuing social cultural heritage, triggering the growth of service industries,
and raising the standard of living; these benefits in turn encouraging positive
attitudes and behaviors among these communities toward regard to tourism
development (Jaafar et al., 2013; Nunkoo & Gursoy, 2012). Malaysia has
great potential in terms of nature tourism and ecotourism (Backhaus, 2003).
Consequently, the state government of Sabah has undertaken a series of
initiatives to position Kinabalu Park as an international attraction and to
encourage the local community to participate in its development. These
initiatives, Liu (2006) suggests, demonstrate the government’s use of rural
tourism a mechanism for racial and spatial economic Thongma et al. (2011)
suggest that the involvement of local communities is instrumental to the
success of tourism development because these communities build more personable
relationships with visiting tourists and impress visitors with local cultural
activities. Consequently, having had an enjoyable experience during their visit,
the visitors leaves satisfied and more likely to revisit the same destination
(Lo et al., 2013). Furthermore, local community participation provides locals
with opportunities to enjoy the benefits of the development activities and
empowers them to mobilize their capabilities through small business ventures
(May-Ling et al., 2014). Therefore, the participation of the local community in
rural tourism is a positive force for change and a catalyst for development
(Claiborne, 2010). The local community participation need not necessarily be
direct, as the community participation can often focus on the decision-making
process and non-economic benefits of tourism development.