Sunday, November 29

Kuching sees its future as Heritage City

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KUCHING: Kuching city may become the next Heritage City after Melaka and Penang.Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit pointed out that Kuching city has all the prerequisites to achieve Heritage City status, which the federal and state governments will work together to achieve.

“From the White Rajahs and the governor, the British colony government and the historical buildings that we have here, we will want to make Kuching the third Heritage City in the country,” Dawos told reporters yesterday.

He said this after the opening of the Meeting of the Minds Tourism seminar at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here.

Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud officiated at the seminar, which was held in conjunction with Pacific Asia Travel Association (Pata) annual meeting 2010.

Dawos, confident that Kuching City would attain Heritage City status, said: “I see no problem for Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) to give the blessing and declare the city a Heritage City as we have many historical buildings and many others that befit the status.”

He added that the federal government would help submit the application to Unesco once it had received it from the state government.

According to Dawos, it would take between six months and a year for Unesco to approve the status, after evaluation on the ground.

He added that once Kuching attained the status, it would be much easier to market it together with Melaka and Penang to compete against other destinations in the region.

The Mambong MP hoped the current Pata meeting would make the recommendation for Heritage City status.

“The role of Pata in making recommendation is significant and profound and when Pata makes recommendation, Unesco will look at it seriously,” he explained.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan concurred with Dawos, saying that Kuching had all the fundamentals to qualify it to be a Heritage City.

“We will submit the proposal to the federal government to forward to Unesco, and we are in the process of doing it,” said Dr Chan who is also Minister of Tourism and Heritage.