International Journal of Administration and Governance

International Journal of Administration and Governance, 1(4) Special 2015, Pages: 92-97
International Journal of Administration and
(ISSN 2077-4486)
Journal home page:
Potential of Entomotourism at Taman Negara Johor Endau Rompin
Shafiq Hamdin, 1Maryati Mohamed, 2Lili Tokiman
Fakulti Sains, Teknologi dan Pembangunan Insan, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), 86400 Parit Raja Batu Pahat Johor,
Perbadanan Taman Negara Johor, Aras 1, Bangunan Dato' Mohamad Saleh Perang, Kota Iskandar, 79576 Nusajaya, Johor, Malaysia
Article history:
Received 23 Feb 2015
Accepted 6 March 2015
Available online 28 March 2015
Entomotourism, Taman Negara Johor,
Endau Rompin, Ant
Background: The study showed that insects have potential as tourism product at
Taman Negara Johor Endau Rompin (TNJER). It also indicated that insect tourism or
now named entomotourism could further be focused on specific insect group, and in
this case, the ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Objective: Firstly, to identify most
reliable and common insect groups that could be found in TNJER and determine the
focus group; and secondly, to survey what ecological information of this focus group is
of interest to tourists. Results: Ant was found to be the most common insect group
followed by termites and flies. Response from 117 visitors of TNJER showed that they
were interested to know about morphological variations, communication system,
defense and foraging behavior of ant. The ant Camponotus gigas was selected as the
best icon to be used to promote entomotourism at TNJER. Conclusion: Generally,
insect tourism has potential in TNJER and ants could be promoted as a focus group.
Besides increasing tourism, using insects as new tourism product could eventually
increase level of awareness among people of the importance for conservation of insects.
© 2015 IWNEST Publisher All rights reserved.
To Cite This Article: M. Shafiq Hamdin, Maryati Mohamed, Lili Tokiman., Potential of Entomotourism at Taman Negara Johor Endau
Rompin. Int. J. Adm. Gov., 1(4), 92-97, 2015
Entomotourism is part of nature based tourism that uses insect as their product [1, 2]. Malaysian forests,
home to countless population of insects [3] could be a good nature tourism destination. This study tries to bring
out the potential of insect as a new tourism product and ant as the focus group in the lowland forest of Taman
Negara Johor Endau Rompin (TNJER). Based on previous studies, ant was proven to be common and
abundantly found in the forest [3, 4, 5, 6]. The uniqueness of insect morphology and behavior make insects good
attraction to tourists as mention by Jaafar et al., 2010 [7]. They found firefly brings in tourists to Kuala Selangor
and at the same time increases the local’s economy. Also, Butterfly Park as a profitable business is built as
family leisure place [8]. Actually, development of entomotourism industry in Malaysia had already started some
time ago and without us realizing was educating the public on conservation. As such, raising awareness of
insects should be included as an objective in entomotourism activities and considered as an effort to support
conservation [9].
Study sites:
Three study sites at TNJER, Peta were selected (Figure 1). The national park about 80,000 hectares, not
only functions as tourism destination but, also as environmental education center. All trails are used by visitors
and tourists for jungle tracking and night walk activities. Locations of these trails are summarized in Table 1.
Corresponding Author: Muhammad Shafiq Hamdin, Fakulti Sains, Teknologi dan Pembangunan Insan, Universiti Tun
Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), Beg Berkunci 101, 86400 Parit Raja Batu Pahat Johor, Malaysia
E-mail: [email protected] / +6017-7542593).
M. Shafiq Hamdin et al, 2015
International Journal of Administration and Governance, 1(4) Special 2015, Pages: 92-97
Fig. 1: A, B and C were the three study sites at Taman Negara Johor Endau Rompin, Peta [10].
Table 1: Locations and Coordinates of Study Sites
Etnobotany Park, Visitor Complex
N 02º31.777’
E 103º24.830’
Temekong, NERC
N 02º31.677’
E 103º24.071’
Pacau, Kuala Jasin
N 02º31.663’
E 103º22.074’
Two methods were employed in this study. Firstly, field observations were carried out on insect groups that
commonly occurred and could be reliably seen. From data obtained and analyzed, the insect focus group was
determined. Secondly, a survey was carried out on visitors/tourists to enquire on what kinds of ecological
information they would want to know about the focus insect group, the ant.
In the first phase, field observations were carried out on 16 groups of insects including ants, termites, wasp
and bees, butterflies, moths, flies, mosquitos, beetles, bugs, leafhopper and cicadas, cockroaches, mantids, stick
insects, crickets, grasshoppers, and lastly dragonflies. The observations and specimen collections were carried
out from February to June 2014. Using point count method [11], a transect of 200 m long was used at each trail
respectively (Figure 2). Points were marked at intervals of 20 m apart. At each point of the segments duration of
10 minutes was provided to observe presence of insects around the point. All observations on kinds of insects
found were recorded and analyzed.
Fig. 2: Example of transect
During the second phase, a survey was carried out among guests of TNJER. Respondents were asked about
their interest on ant and the potential of ant as entomotourism product. The three parts of the questionnaires
were (i) respondent profile, (ii) respondent’s experience in the forest and (iii) ecological information on ant that
would interest them.
M. Shafiq Hamdin et al, 2015
International Journal of Administration and Governance, 1(4) Special 2015, Pages: 92-97
Occurrence of Insect Groups:
From data collected, the insect group, ant, was ranked top; being most commonly observed, occurring in
relatively large number. This is followed by termites and flies (Table 2) for most of the study sites. Termites
could be found more in less open areas with high relative humidity [12] (Table 3). Besides, flies were found in
large number at Ethnobotany trail and Temekong trail, as both sites have number of fruit trees.
Table 2: Ranking of abundance of insect groups from high to low at three trails in Taman Negara Johor Endau Rompin
Table 3: Average Ecological Parameter for Each Study Sites
Sea Level (m)
Ethnobotany Trail
Light Intensity (lux)
Air Humidity (RH%)
Focus Group and Survey on Interests of Visitors:
From analyses on occurrence of insect groups, ant was the most frequently encountered in TNJER forest. At
all trails and on all occasions ants could be reliably seen and collected. In this study ant was selected as the focus
group. Subsequently, the questionnaire survey was focused on ant’s ecology and potential of entomotourism.
For the Experience in the Forest section, 44% of respondents declared having been into the forest at least
once or twice and the rest of 56%, for more than three times. As for reasons why they went into the forest, half
of respondents stated as for holidays (Figure 3). This indicated that generally visitors/tourists coming to TNJER
did have experience and were familiar with a lowland forest ecosystem.
Fig. 3: Reasons why respondents went into forest.
The next question asked was, what their experience with ant in the forest was. 68% stated they tried to see
the behavior of ant or the colony. Besides, 89% of respondents also agreed that ant group was easier to be found.
For Ant’s Ecological Knowledge section, 73 of the 117 (62%) respondents wanted to know about ants’
communication system, 60 or 51.1% about defense, 53 or 45.3% about morphology and 49 or 42% about
foraging behavior. Respondent gave more than one requests on ecological information they would like to know
about ants. These are ranked as in Figure 4.
M. Shafiq Hamdin et al, 2015
International Journal of Administration and Governance, 1(4) Special 2015, Pages: 92-97
Fig. 4: Ranked information needed by respondents
Respondents were also requested to state their thought on the main roles played by ants in a forest and their
view on ant. These are ranked in Table 4.
Table 4: Opinion on main role played by ant and views on ants in forest ecosystem.
Involve in ecosystem balance
A good decomposer
Need to conserve for the next generation
Shows example of good cooperation
One component of biodiversity
Interesting to study
Forms part of food chain
Eat human food wastes
Rare ants need to be protected
Develop an Ant’s Park
Define forest age
Bio-control agent
A good bio-indicator of forest diversity/health
Potential product for tourism
It is apparent from the table that visitors/tourists at TNJER were receptive to ants as to be able to request for
information that would satisfy their curiosity on ants. They were also able to give opinion on ant’s role in a
lowland forest tropical ecosystem such as TNJER. Since generally visitors/tourists that come to specific
destination such as TNJER were familiar with the forest ecosystem, it was not a surprise to see this ability and
response among the visitors/tourists.
M. Shafiq Hamdin et al, 2015
International Journal of Administration and Governance, 1(4) Special 2015, Pages: 92-97
Although, this maybe an initial version of a more comprehensive study, the results clearly showed that insect
is a potential product for nature tourism. The insects as an organism group has taxonomic groupings, the most
easily recognizable being the taxon, order. There are many orders some of which are more common than others.
In this study it was shown that the more commonly occurring orders of insects found in a lowland tropical
rainforest such as TNJER are the ants (order : Hymenoptera), flies (order: Diptera), termites (order: Blattodea)
and so forth. Thus, when promoting insects in entomotourism not all insects maybe relevantly promoted.
In line with the government’s agenda to produce new tourisms icon, further analysis of observation and
collection of insects in three trails of TNJER indicated that the ants from order Hymenoptera, family Formicidae
was the most commonly encountered and most abundantly present. Since one characteristic of nature tourism
product is reliability in sighting, this makes ant as a potentially good product. In addition ant also has other good
characteristics such as morphologically, having unique characters; generally safe to human; play important roles
in environment; and some, closely associated with people and culture. Zooming down to the species level, it was
easy to note that the giant forest ant, Camponotus gigas being comparatively the largest in size, could be adopted
as the icon for entomotourism.
As from the perception of visitors/tourist of TNJER, it was interesting to note of their awareness and interest
on insects as tourism attraction. It was heartening to acknowledge of their interest to know more of ant’s
ecological traits.
All these findings indicated that generally insects in the lowland forest tropical ecosystem do have potential
to be promoted as a new tourism product. Among the insect groups, ants showed the highest reliability for
sighting. And for this group, further study on behavior and other ecological roles played by them in a lowland
ecosystem may provide more information that could satisfy visitors’ interest in entomotourism.
Finally, increasing human awareness on insect’s potential in an industry like tourism may enlighten people
on its usefulness. This provides a contradicting view to the general perception that all insects are harmful and
bringing damage human properties and affected negatively human welfare. Once insects could be established as
useful organisms, its conservation could be justified more easily; enabling Malaysia to fulfill its obligation in
conserving and using sustainably the biodiversity of the nation, as required by the Convention on Biological
Thanks to Center for Graduate Studies, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia for funding provided to
participate at National Postgraduate Conference on Tourism, Public Administration & Governance 2015. Also to
Graduate Researcher Incentive Grant (GIPS), and contract grant C030 (Biodiversity of Fauna of TNJER) for
funding this research. Thanks also to Johor National Park Cooperation (PTNJ) for the facilities provided during
the study.
[1] Maryati Mohamed, 2000. Entotourism. Proc. on 1st Sabah Tourism Symposium. Kota Kinabalu, Sabah:
UMS. pp: 1-13.
[2] Maryati Mohamed, Afifa, I.A., I. Nurhidayah and S.Y. Salwa, 2013. Insect Collection and Potential of
Entotourism at Gunung Chamah, Kelantan. Gunung Chamah Kelantan; Pengurusan Hutan, Ppersekitaran
Fizikal, Kepelbagaian Biologi dan Pelancongan Ekologi. Kelantan: State Forestry Department. P: 218-233.
[3] David, M.C., 2015. The Potential and Promotion of Entotourism at Gunung Ledang, Johor, Malaysia.
Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia: MSc. Thesis (unpublished).
[4] Eliot, J. and J. Bickersteth, 2002. Malaysia Handbook: The Travel Guide. London: Footprint Handbook.
[5] Tamat, B., 2004., Entopelancongan di Taman Banjaran Crocker, Ulu Kimanis, Papar, Sabah. Universiti
Malaysia Sabah: BSc Thesis (unpublished).
[6] Maryati Mohamed, David, M.C., M. N.A. Razali and F.A. Rajini, 2013. Inventory of Insects Group in
Gunung Ledang, Johor, Malaysia. Serangga,18(2): 75-108.
[7] Jaafar, M., A. Ahmad and Z. Sakawi, 2010. Kemandirian industri eko-pelancongan: Kes tarikan pelancong
kelip-kelip Kg. Kuantan. Malaysian Journal of Society and Space., 6(3): 89-97.
[8] Goh, D., 2002. Penang’s Butterfly Farm. Penang. Excessed on November 11, 2014. From
[9] Ak. Matusin, M.R., N. Suki, M.M. Dawood and F.H. Saikim, 2014. Giving Increased value to Invertebrates
through Ecotourism. International Journal of Advance in Agriculture & Environmental Engineering, 1:
[10] PTNJ., 2012. Map of Taman Negara Johor Endau Rompin, Peta. Nusajaya: Johor National Park
M. Shafiq Hamdin et al, 2015
International Journal of Administration and Governance, 1(4) Special 2015, Pages: 92-97
[11] Malim, T.P. and Maryati Mohamed, 1999. Butterfly Monitoring Using Point Count Method at Tabin
Wildlife Reserve, Lahad Datu, Sabah. In: Maryati Mohamed et al. (eds) Tabin Scientific Expedition
Universiti Malaysia Sabah: Sabah., pp: 99-110.
[12] Dennis, S.H. and F. Abang, 2010. The Insect of Borneo; including South-east Asia. 2nd ed. Sarawak:
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.