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‘Culture Heritage Management and Tourism: Evaluation and Mainstreaming’
WorkshopPenang, Malaysia
15-18 January 2003

 

Workshop background

The Penang workshop was undertaken as the last activity of the four-year Norwegian-funded UNESCO regional project on ‘Culture Heritage Management and Tourism: Models for Co-operation among Stakeholders’ (CHMT).

 

The objectives of the Penang evaluation and mainstreaming workshop were as follows:

  • To evaluate the impact in the eight pilot sites of their participation in the project, in order to understand and make explicit the benefits of the process
  • To mainstream the lessons learnt from the pilot site activities into government policy at local, provincial and national levels, thus transforming the Lijiang Models into action-based policy applicable and replicable throughout Asia and the Pacific region
  • To review a draft workbook entitled “Culture Heritage Management and Tourism: A Workbook for Heritage Site Management in the Asia-Pacific Region” which will assist local stakeholders in mainstreaming the lessons learnt from the four-year, four-phase project into action at the community level
  • To identify the next stages and future activities under the project on “Culture Heritage Management and Tourism: Models for Cooperation among Stakeholders” to sustain the momentum gained during the last four-years of project implementation in the pilot sites

 

Workshop site

The meeting point of many cultures, Penang’s rich heritage has been influenced through centuries of trade and diplomatic ties by China, India, Europe and neighboring Southeast Asian countries.  The unique multicultural community can be experienced in the houses of worship, guilds, mosques, temples, clanhouses, and district associations which are Penang's museums of migration and cultural history.  It is currently on Malaysia’s Tentative List of World Heritage sites.  The Penang State Government is actively involved in utilizing the models derived from the four-year project to structure their culture tourism strategy.

Penang Workshop partner organizations

  • Penang State Government
  • Pengang Heritage Trust

 

Workshop participants

A total number of 61 participants (excluding local Secretariat members) took part in the workshop. In addition to the delegates from the eight pilot sites, internal experts who had been involved throughout the project and external experts from key institutions and collaborating agencies also took part.  At the local level, experts and delegates from Malaysian NGOs, key officials of the State Government of Penang were required to participate in the workshop by the State Minister of Penang to learn from the experiences of the eight pilot sites so they can internalize best case practices into the State policy.

 

Workshop structure

Activities undertaken during the workshop included:

  • Preparation of self-evaluation reports
  • Preparation of a draft workbook for heritage site management in the Asia-Pacific region
  • Evaluation of the impact of the project on the eight pilot sites
  • Formulation of strategies of mainstreaming of best case practices in the pilot sites into policy

During the workshop, the eight pilot sites, (Bhaktapur, Nepal; Hoi An, Viet Nam; Kandy, Sri Lanka; Levuka, Fiji; Lijiang, China; Luang Prabang, Lao PDR; Melaka, Malaysia; and Vigan, Philippines) presented their self-evaluation reports which clearly show that their participation in the four-year project has been beneficial to their local communities.  The positive outcomes include introducing revenue capture schemes from the tourism industry, integrating conservation and site presentation into local development and budget plans, human resource development in tourism industries and services, and strengthening community participation in planning and implementation of project activities. As demonstrated by the preparation, documentation and presentation of the pilot site self-evaluation reports, the enthusiasm and commitment of the local government units and community groups have been substantial and continue to sustain the gains generated by the project during the four-year project implementation period.

 

Outside expert evaluators, chosen from the tourism and related industries were also invited to help in the evaluation of the project from the perspective of their global, regional and national institutions, and to share their expertise on how the lessons learnt from the pilot site activities can be mainstreamed into government policy at the local, provincial and national level and then transforming the Lijiang Models for the Development of Sustainable Tourism into action across-the-board. Their participation and in the workshop has elicited their support and involvement in future activities under the CHMT project and LEAP programme.

 

Mainstreaming of the Lijiang Models into government policy

 

The other main goal of the Penang workshop was to identify and formulate strategies to mainstream best case practices from the 8 pilot sites into policy. The essential questions asked during the deliberations were: (a) how do we move from pilot site to policy, from best practice case study to best practice generally; and (b) what is needed to get policy-level dialogue among the different stakeholders, so their co-operation is ensured in the development of a community-based tourism industry that is both self-sustaining and mutually beneficial to all parties concerned.

 

Preparation of Workbook for Local Stakeholders

 

A draft ‘Workbook for Heritage Site Management in the Acia-Pacific Region” was distributed to the participants at the beginning of the Penang Workshop. The draft workbook, particularly the flowcharts of the four Lijiang Models, was subjected to intense discussion during the sessions on mainstreaming the models into government policy. A significant number of suggested revisions to the flowcharts of the Lijiang Models were raised, thus necessitating a substantial revision to the content, methodology and format of the entire workbook.

 

The next stage of the CHMT project will be the publication and dissemination of the workbook to concerned authorities at the community level, who will make use of the workbook as a means of integrating conservation and the development of sustainable culture tourism industry into their local development plans. Necessary revisions to the draft workbook will be made as soon as additional funds are available for the purpose, as well as for the future publication and dissemination of the workbook.