Perak Tourism Association (PTA) held their Tourism Round-table Meet 2018 on Thursday, January 18 at the ballroom of Lost World Hotel, Ipoh. The theme set by President of PTA, Datuk Hj. Mohd. Odzman Abdul Kadir was ‘Engaging NGOs towards a Productive Collaboration’.

The discussion which lasted from 9am till 5pm was officiated by Dato’ Nolee Ashilin Dato’ Mohd. Radzi, Chairman of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Communications and Multimedia Committee.

It was well attended by stakeholders all over Malaysia. The meeting included presentations by NGOs and guest speakers on selective topics such as Improving Service Industry, Promoting Heritage Tourism and more. Hj. Mohd. Odzman suggested that the aim of the meeting was to make Perak the preferred destination and in order to achieve that, by publishing a Stakeholders Guidebook 2018-2020.

“The guidebook will feature the findings of the round-table session which includes the issues raised, probable solutions and corresponding action plans. This will serve as a platform for stakeholders to discuss, deliberate and voice their opinions on various issues that affect the advancement of tourism in Perak,” he continued.

Also, the means to publish the guidebook is to set up a Centralised Issues Management Centre (CIMC). This centre will enable tourism consumers or educational institutions to gain information on tourism in Perak.

“Perak has gotten recognition by Lonely Planet and was even added to UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites. We need to realise that these recognitions are hard to come by and should start living up to it. Heritage and nature are our two main focuses in promoting Perak and we’ll need to include NGOs to make this happen. We need to get in the game and start working together,” exclaimed Nolee.

One of the guest speakers was the town planner of Ipoh City Council, Zulqarnain Mohamad. His topic was ‘Setting New Tone to Ipoh Old Town through Informal Collaboration’. He mentioned that people are more interested in informal things. Hence, the informal collaboration.

Some of the things he suggested were turning streets into interesting places by the locals (like Concubine Lane), building local economies through street markets, reinventing community planning, improving safety of public space and maintaining heritage in Ipoh.

“I’ve had conversations with tourists from Netherlands who told me they loved Ipoh for the rustic buildings. Some countries are too proper for them. We also encounter situations where we want to maintain certain heritage buildings which require development. But above all, I think we’re doing pretty good. We have lots of room for improvement but we’re doing good,” continued Zulqarnain.

Khaleeja