Students in tourism business visit Mai Po Nature Reserve – Hong Kong

Students birdwatching during the visit © Mathew Cheng/WWF-HK

To mark the Year of Wetland and Tourism for Ramsar, over 60 students from the Institute for Tourism Studies of Macau joined a guided visit to Mai Po Nature Reserve (MPNR) to learn about sustainable tourism practices in early November 2012. This visit for students was to experience first-hand how a sustainably-managed wetland can accommodate visitors and demonstrate that wise use has great value for the coexistence of nature and people. MPNR is part of the Mai Po Inner Deep Bay EAAF Network Site as well as Ramsar Site located in the North West New Territories of Hong Kong.

Since 1983, WWF-HK has been managing the nature reserve for conservation and biodiversity enhancement. “WWF-HK offers various educational walks, special tours, and workshops to target groups as well as general public in MPNR to raise awareness of the conservation and wise use of wetlands” Mai Po Center Manager, Mathew Cheng said. “The study trip for Macau students hopefully will help them understand the value of wetlands and motivate them to become advocates for wetland conservation. The activity itself also responds to the strategic objective for MPNR to serve as hub of wetland education in the region.”

After the guided tour, the students joined a discussion to share their ideas how they can wisely use the wetlands for tourism industry throughout Hong Kong and China for sustainable development and life. “Macau has lost significant amounts of natural wetland over the past two decades because of land reclamation projects for casinos and other urban development” Dr Wantanee Suntikul, Assistant Professor of the Institute, said during the discussion. She also added that this tour for young people would help spread and raise awareness of ecological values of the wetlands to their peer group, family and friends.

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