The Perak Tourist Association (PTA) together with the Kinta Heritage Group recently organised a Ipoh Heritage Walk through the streets of Old Town.
According to PTA President Hj Odzman Abd Kadir the purpose of the walk was to create awareness of the many heritage sites available in Ipoh.
The heritage trail was based on the heritage map produced by the Kinta Heritage Group which features 24 heritage buildings such as the FMS, St Michael’s School, the Chinese Miners Club Han Chin Pet Soo and the Birch Memorial clock tower which are located between the roads bordered by Club Road, Clayton Road, Post Office Road and the Kinta River.
Close to 140 participants took part in the walk made up mainly of the public with a smattering of officials from Perak Tourism and tour guides.
Five tour guides from PTA guided the groups around, stopping at specific buildings to explain the background of its cultural heritage. The duration of the trail lasted approximately 2 hours.
The response from the participants was positive. The Trail as a tourist product had a lot of potential. The Heritage map with a photo of the building and accompanying write up was user friendly enough for tourists to take the walk by themselves and appreciate the heritage value of the area.
Negative points raised by the participants included:
1) The sidewalks (some) were too high, uneven and pavement tiles were missing.
2) The area around the Birch Memorial clock tower was shabby and dirty. The clock was not working.
3) The tour guides conducting the tour should carry a loud speaker.
Kinta Heritage Director Jek Yap, who initially printed 30,000 of these maps and distributed them FOC to hotels and tourism bodies explained that the intent was for it to be used as a tool to encourage tourists to visit Ipoh’s heritage sites.
Kinta Heritage will be coming out with another 3 maps which will eventually cover the whole of Ipoh, Old and New Town.
Ipoh should be glad to have pro-active groups like PTA and Kinta Heritage who have the initiative to create a new and viable tourism product.
PTA Odzman aptly said that “as an NGO we have our limits but at least we can be a catalyst”. Hence it is hoped that the local tour agencies and agents will now help to promote heritage tourism as a new product.
Readers, who are interested in getting a copy of Ipoh Heritage Trail Map 1, can go to Perak Tourism’s website: peraktourism.com to print a copy.