The critical role of a lead institution in ecotourism management: a case of dual governance in Belum-Temengor, Malaysia

Joo Ee Gan, Vikneswaran Nair, Amran Hamzah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The study examined the dual governance of ecotourism in Belum-Temengor Forest Reserve, Malaysia, through the qualitative method whereby 29 semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with stakeholders of the ecotourism sector in the locality. Two distinct institutional arrangements resulted when one third of the forest reserve was declared the Royal Belum State Park and the Perak State Parks Corporation (PSPC) designated for its environmental management. By contrast, there was no lead institution for Temengor, where licensed logging also took place. The findings showed that the status/categorisation of forest land, the prioritisation of conservation and the presence of a lead institution significantly affected the ecotourism governance of a locality. The PSPC’s effective stewardship ensured that ecotourism was conducted sustainably at the state park, but the lack of a Temengor lead institution resulted in unregulated visitor entries and poor solid waste disposal in Temengor forest sites. The study contributes to the tourism governance discourse in Malaysia by highlighting the undesirability of a dual governance structure premised on unequal status of the ecotourism destinations involved. The study also demonstrates the need for leadership and multi-actors’ collaboration in the environmental management of ecotourism destinations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-275
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2019


  • Dual governance
  • ecotourism governance
  • environmental management
  • institutional arrangement
  • lead institution
  • Malaysia

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