Lush rainforests, white-sand beaches, exotic and diverse wildlife, friendly people with a rich history, heritage, and culture. Those are what travelers can expect from BIMP-EAGA.
There is much to discover, with BIMP-EAGA covering the entire sultanate of Brunei Darussalam; the provinces of Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku and West Papua of Indonesia; the states of Sabah and Sarawak and the federal territory of Labuan in Malaysia; and Mindanao and the province of Palawan in the Philippines.
Globally important ecosystems
BIMP-EAGA countries share the most biodiverse rainforest and marine ecosystems in the world, which are protected through the Heart of Borneo and the Coral Triangle initiatives.
The Heart of Borneo refers to the rainforest system on the Borneo Island, which Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, and Malaysia share. It spans a third of the island. It contains the largest remaining contiguous forest in Asia, extending over 22 million hectares. The tropical rainforest is home to approximately 6% of the world’s biodiversity.
The Coral Triangle refers to the network of coral reefs considered as the global center of tropical marine diversity. It supports the highest number of species of coral reef fishes, and turtles. The roughly triangular area covers 5.7 million square kilometers of tropical marine waters of six countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines. The mangrove forests, coral reefs, and coastal and offshore waters are the most species-rich in the tropics.
With both the Heart of Borneo and the Coral Triangle under threat, BIMP-EAGA is promoting ecotourism across the subregion to protect its biologically diverse resources. It also promotes community-based ecotourism, which involves and empowers communities to take advantage of natural, cultural, and historic assets for tourism.
BIMP-EAGA also boasts of six UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Lorentz National Park in Papua, Indonesia; Mt. Kinabalu Park in Sabah, Malaysia; Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia; Puerto Princesa Subterranean River in Palawan, Philippines; Tubbataha Reefs National Park, also in Palawan, Philippines; and Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao, Philippines.
Apart from these destinations, BIMP-EAGA offers unique experiences for travelers, including diving, snorkeling, trekking, mountain climbing, sailing, and golf, among others.
BIMP-EAGA is synonymous with rainforests, thanks to the Heart of Borneo. Outside of Borneo, swathes of rainforests in Mindanao and Palawan in the Philippines remain pristine and provide opportunities for travelers to explore.
Sun, sand, sea
BIMP-EAGA has much to offer for those who enjoy sun, sand, and sea. Think island getaways with sandy beaches, diving and exploring vibrant coral reefs, wreck diving, snorkeling, and boat rides. Sulawesi, Maluku, West Papua, Sabah, Mindanao, and Palawan offer those types of experiences to travelers.
Flora and fauna
In both sea and land, BIMP-EAGA is home to a stunningly diverse and unique flora and fauna. From orangutans, pygmy elephants, Sumatran rhinoceros, proboscis monkeys to rafflesia, marine turtles, and whale sharks, the forests and waters of BIMP-EAGA teem with rare species.
Many of the ecotourism sites and destinations in BIMP-EAGA are located in rural areas with distinct cultures, traditions and lifestyles. Borneo's forest ecosystems alone support the diverse cultures of over 200 indigenous groups. The subregion’s rich history, heritage and culture attract both domestic and foreign tourists. The traditional cuisines are an added attraction.
To showcase the subregion’s rich culture and heritage, BIMP-EAGA launched the Budayaw Festival in 2017 in General Santos City, Mindanao in the Philippines. The festival serves as a venue to foster stronger connectivity among the peoples of the region and to showcase the diversity of creative expressions of the subregion. The festival is held every two years.
The second Budayaw Festival was held in Kuching, Sarawak in Malaysia, along with the 23rd BIMP-EAGA Ministerial Meeting and related meetings.