Developing Community-based Ecotourism on Mantanani Island in Sabah, Malaysia
Developing Community-based Ecotourism on Mantanani Island in Sabah, Malaysia
Unsustainable tourism is damaging marine and terrestrial ecosystems around the Mantanani islands. Growth in the number of tourists visiting the islands is uncontrolled; divers and snorkelers are poorly supervised; and waste management is inadequate leading to pollution both on land and in the sea.

In addition, local islanders – who gain very little from a tourism industry dominated by operators from the mainland – are engaged in unsustainable fishing practices, including dynamite fishing that destroys marine ecosystems.

The proposed project aims to empower local islanders to participate in a community-based tourism programme to ensure that they start to gain real, direct benefits from tourism and at the same time understand why they need to conserve the islands’ environment. This will be achieved through:

- Developing the homestay market on the island
- Training eco-friendly community tour guides
- Improving waste management and recycling
- Strengthening community-based ecotourism and build capacity of local community to effectively participate in the market

The project is necessary to prevent the degradation of environment, lost livelihoods, reduced food security, and damage to the national tourism industry. The recent drop in overseas tourist numbers due to Covid-19 also highlights the need to shift Mantanani Island’s tourism market from reliance on low-value, high-number day-trippers to higher economic value, lower numbers, quality eco-tourism market.

The project is relevant to the GEF/SGP strategy in that it will protect and conserve biodiversity on the islands. Mantanani is known to be home to rare bird species (e.g. Mantanani Scopes owl, Megapode). It is also a recognized foraging ground for turtles which spend time at the island as they grow. Finally, the islands are surrounded by fringing coral reefs, home to both charismatic species such as sharks and large rays, as well as the wide biodiversity typical of tropical coral reefs.
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Project Snapshot

Reef Check Malaysia Berhad
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 16,088.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 6,600.00
Project Number:
Currently under execution

Grantee Contact

Julian Hyde
Phone: +60-3-2164 5407
Fax: +60-3-2164 5407


Kuala Lumpur , 50450


SGP Country office contact

Ms. Shin Shin, Lee
603-8689 6055
Ms. Nurul Fitrah Mohd Ariffin Marican


Level 10, Menara PJH, No.2, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, Precinct 2,
Putrajaya, 62100

Country Website