AT TAYLOR'S: Dr. Vikneswaran Nair (vicky.nair@taylors.edu.my)
PROJECT PARTNER: Refer 'Partners' section
The Responsible Rural Tourism Network (R2TN) is a group of leading researchers in the field of sustainable and responsible tourism from Malaysia and across the region The group was granted RM9 million by the Malaysian Ministry of Education to fund their five-year project into the potential for growth in this vital part of the Malaysian economy. This project aims to help rural communities become successful eco-tourism destinations without having a negative impact on the community itself.
The programme is led at Taylor’s University by Dr. Vikneswaran Nair, who works with other project leaders from various universities across Malaysia. The project is divided into two parts: the first to focus on the economic and social impact of tourism; the second on the environmental limits of tourism. This involves determining how much the community and physical environment can sustain before it is overwhelmed and becomes irreparably degraded. Sometimes, as in the case of coral reefs so important to the marine ecosystem, the damage may be difficult to reverse, which is why the project aims to develop a national rating system or tourism barometer which will act as a proactive solution to prevent and minimize any damage to the environment and the community.
The team of highly-skilled and educated researchers at Taylor’s School of Hospitality and Tourism share the passion and drive necessary to be successful in this project. The team works in conjunction with various organizations and tourism professionals from other universities who together play a vital role in helping to sustain and support the fragile rural tourism industry of Malaysia. They visit, study and connect with rural communities in sixteen locations around Malaysia; including BarioTaman NegaraKuala SelangorMulu National Park, and Sungai Kilim Geopark, among others.
These sites all provide the team with important information on indicators that will determine if and when communities will be negatively impacted by tourism. The focus of this project is not so much on research and development, but rather to give rural communities the chance to bring in visitors and share their culture and traditions. It also serves as a means of boosting the rural economy in a way that benefits both visitors and the community. This is why each site is so special to the team, as they are connected in many ways and just want to make a difference in the communities.

Dr. Nair has been instrumental in driving this project forward and is one of the many fine teachers, lecturers and professors in the Taylor’s Education Group that exemplify the highest professional academic standards, combined with a deep compassion and genuine concern for the welfare of others. He can be contacted through his email at vicky.nair@taylors.edu.my or you may find more information through the Responsible Rural Tourism Network’s website at  http://www.rrtn.net.my/