Published on : Thursday, September 12, 2019
Jalan Tengkera in Melaka has all the features of a great heritage tourism product – a war-torn past, centuries-old Dutch buildings, mystical tombs and households with heirloom artifacts. A team of researchers from Melaka recently did a cultural mapping of the area.
“Our main aim is to give back to the community by collecting their stories and preserving the past,” one researcher explained, adding that apart from staging exhibitions, the findings were shared with the Melaka Historic City Council and Museums Department.
The dream is to prevent Jalan Tengkera from yielding to the detrimental effects of tourism that have plagued many heritage sites in Melaka.
However, the researchers say that it’s only a matter of time before the heritage-rich Jalan Tengkera lands on tourism maps, with travellers continuing to discover novel experiences.
All over the world, heritage tourism, which is the practice of travelling to places of historical and cultural significance, remains an enduring form of travel.
The UNWTO said that heritage tourism generates about US$327bil (RM1.367tril) annually in the Asia-Pacific region.
In Malaysia, cities like Melaka, George Town, Ipoh, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur, with their illustrious past and rich multicultural makeup have huge potential to tap into this evergreen market.
As part of Visit Malaysia 2020, the focus will be on promoting the sustainability of tourism, arts and culture. However, sustainability in heritage tourism is a rather delicate matter.
Even the UNWTO thinks that heritage tourism is complex as cultural heritage attractions tend to be “fragile by nature”.