The title sounds suspicious but it is not what you think. “WET” is an acronym for “World Eco-Tourism”. The 3-day exposition, named WET-Expo 2017, was held at Casuarina Meru Hotel and Convention Centre, Ipoh from October 27 to 29. It was organised by Tourism Perak with the collaboration of a private entity, Exist Green Sdn Bhd.
The event showcased activities related to the tourism industry namely, cycling, adventure-related tours and hiking gear. Companies selling these items were on hand to promote their products.
The function was graced by Dato’ Nolee Ashilin Dato’ Mohd Radzi, Executive Councillor for Tourism, Culture and Communication and His Excellency the Governor of the State of Bauchi, Nigeria, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar and his entourage.
“We’re trying to instil awareness” said Derrick Skelchy, CEO of Exist Green Sdn Bhd. “It’s sad to note that not many people know the varied cultures of our country especially that of the Orang Asli, our indigenous people.”
Both Tourism Perak and Exist Green are actively involved in developing Perak into a hotspot for all things to do with its ecology – outdoor adventures, cultural shows and nature-learning programmes, etc.
“People around the world don’t know what Gua Tempurung and our other caves are, or who the Orang Asli are,” said Derrick to Ipoh Echo. “I feel it’s time to place Ipoh and Malaysia on the world map via ecotourism with programmes concentrating on nature and the Orang Asli.”
Beside the exposition, a talk on ecotourism and its sustainability was also held. Among the speakers were Dato’ Dr Masri Muhamad, former Director-General of Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), Dr Richard Ng, President of Ipoh City Watch, Melissa Cheong, CEO of Cycledios Berhad and Professor Dr Lawal Mohammed Marafa, Department of Geography and Resource Management, Chinese University of Hong Kong.
“Malaysia has an abundance of natural attractions ranging from the oldest rainforest in the world to animal sanctuaries. Eco-tourism is becoming the fastest growing tourism segment in Malaysia,” said a message from Dato’ Nolee.