MELAKA – A well-balanced development plan between modern facilities and heritage preservation efforts for the city is a vital catalyst for tourist arrivals, said researcher Ahmad Najib Ariffin.
The Nusantara Academy of Development, Geocultures and Ethnolinguistics founder said every tourist had their own preference and a city must cater to the needs of the tourists by planning a well balanced city.
“Melaka for example is a heritage city, but focusing on heritage alone merely attracts tourists who are interested in heritage, what about those who are interested in shopping or other modern activities.
“So we must have a balance, build shopping malls and other modern tourist attractions but at the same time do heritage preservation, so in the end we can attract tourists from both ends,” he told Bernama here recently.
Melaka hopes to achieve 16 million tourist arrivals this year while it received around 15 million tourists last year.
Ahmad Najib, an architect by practice but works as a researcher and international consultant in heritage, tourism, marketing and development, said implementing a well balanced city plan was not an easy task.
“It needs a lot of efforts and most important of all it needs cooperation from all parties whether the government, private companies, NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and the people itself,” he said.
According to him, there were cities in Asia with declining tourist arrivals because they were focusing on heritage alone.
He said cities like these had a strict development concept such as not having modern development within the heritage area, and these cities could lose economic benefits from the modern facilities as well as tourist benefits.
“But I have to really stress that this is not a straight forward issue, there are cities that choose to do this (focusing on heritage alone) on purpose because of certain reasons.
“It is really up to the city administrators. But for me, I choose a well balanced city plan,” he said.