UNESCO Supports the Last Site-Specific Workshop on Sustainable Tourism at the World Heritage Sites of ‘Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca’ on 19-20 May 2016 in Melaka, Malaysia
UNESCO Office in Jakarta in coordination with Melaka World Heritage Office and George Town World Heritage Incorporated organised the third and last of the site-specific workshop on Sustainable Tourism at World Heritage sites in Melaka, 19-20 May 2016.
This workshop was part of UNESCO project, ‘The Power of Culture: Supporting Community-Based Management and Sustainable Tourism at World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia,’ with generous support from the Government of Malaysia under the Malaysia-UNESCO Cooperation Programme. This last workshop was a follow-up to the first two workshops held in Melaka and George Town in November 2015 and March 2016 respectively.
The whole two days of the workshop brought forward 26 participants, who have been attending the previous two workshops, representing Melaka and George Town. Two representatives from Myanmar were also present as observers to potentially apply the same process towards sustainable tourism strategy for the Bagan Archaeological Area and Monuments.
The Mayor of Melaka Historic City, Datuk Zainal bin Hussin, and the General Manager of Melaka Museum Corporation (PERZIM), Datuk Haji Khamis bin Haji Abas, paneled the discussion on the conclusion and way forward together with General Manager of George Town World Heritage Incorporated, Dr Ang Mind Chee, General Manager of Melaka World Heritage Office, Mr Rosli Haji Nor, Coordinator of the World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Mr Peter DeBrine, and Head of Culture Unit UNESCO Office Jakarta, Mr Bernards A. Zako.
Datuk Zainal bin Hussin stated that the council needed to think of a way to safeguard the living cultural heritage in the site and to advocate to the younger generation the importance of heritage through heritage education. “Melaka receives a lot of visitors and we have to think about finding our own ‘products’ so that the city can benefit from tourism.”
Mr. Peter DeBrine also emphasized the importance of proper heritage interpretation, in particular by the tourist guides, who are the forefront of the tourism industry. “Proper understanding of Outstanding Universal Value of both Melaka and George Town will help these tourist guides to share these important understanding with the visitors to avoid misinterpretation of the cities. At the same time, this will enhance the safeguarding efforts of the intangible cultural heritage of these cities.”
The last site-specific workshop was followed by the second and last sub-regional workshop, inviting representatives from the pilot sites within the project. The sub-regional workshop was held on 23-24 May 2016 in Melaka, aiming to share experience and good practice in developing the sustainable tourism strategy for their sites.
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