Melaka highlights pros and cons of World Heritage listing

Malacca Malaysia world heritage site

Since 2008, when Melaka was designated a Unesco World Heritage site in a joint bid with George Town, in Penang state, the fragile outpost has succumbed to more modern foes: a surge in tourism from 7.5 million visitors annually to more than 12 million, a steep rise in property values and rents, and the construction of towering hotels, malls and new towns teeming with high-rises around its periphery.

“Before the inception of Unesco World Heritage, our town was rustic and unpretentious, full of unique flavours, hybrid races, the smell of incense, wood houses, the muddy river, the sounds of craftsmen at work,” said Bert Tan, head of the local Malaysian History and Heritage Club, and a resident of Melaka. “But World Heritage status has changed Melaka from a quiet community to the monstrosity of tourist commercialism and business. Old traders have been replaced by fancy bars and hotels. We have cartoon heritage, monstrous mega-projects, Hello Kitty buildings.”

Read the full feature: Sustainable tourism: Melaka highlights pros and cons of World Heritage listing- Nikkei Asian Review

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith is the editor and co-founder of Travindy. He is a writer and communications consultant working for a more responsible and sustainable tourism industry. He is the author of two books, writes a fortnightly blog on responsible tourism for World Travel Market, and provides consultancy to a wide range of companies and organisations, ranging from National Parks to individual hotels and tour operators.

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