[Southeast Asia] George Town’s heritage tag may be double edged sword, warn conservationists

BY LOOI SUE- CHERN
Published: 25 June 2014  News from Malaysian Insider

Penang has been enjoying a steady growth in its tourism sector since George Town earned Unesco's recognition as a world heritage city six years ago, but heritage conservationists are also getting worried about unrestraint tourism development in the sensitive area.

Penang Heritage Trust (PHT) president Khoo Salma Nasution said the heritage city may also suffer negative effects from what is done, not so much for tourism than in the name of tourism.
She said unrestraint tourism development, the rises in property prices and rental has seen the original residents pushed out of the city.

"We now have less than 10,000 residents, like in the days of Francis Light (who founded the British settlement in Penang in 1786). Previously, the population in the city was 50,000 to 100,000 people. It was a bustling city where people lived. Now people still work here but the city is more geared towards tourism until we have lost our own living and working city. It should be our city, a place where tourists can come and visit. This has happened to many world heritage sites, where they have become a playground for others and no longer the people's city...I worry that we may be repeating the same mistakes as other tourism destinations if we are not careful," she told The Malaysian Insider in a recent interview.

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BY LOOI SUE- CHERN

Published: 25 June 2014

BY LOOI SUE- CHERN

Published: 25 June 2014