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Taiping needs a Blueprint

AS a native of Taiping, I am proud and honoured that the Town of Everlasting Peace was judged the third best city in the world behind Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, and Vancouver, Canada.

This recognition was given during the Sustainable Top 100 Destination Awards 2019 at the International Tourismus-Börse (ITB) show in Berlin, Germany, last week.

I am sure all those associated in some way with Taiping feel the same.

I congratulate the Taiping Municipal Council for having taken steps to enable the town to attain this award. Syabas to council president Datuk Abd Rahim Ariff for this achievement, which he said “due to the hard work of the community and governmental agencies. The council always works hard to make Taiping a popular tourist destination”.

But how does the Perak government or the Tourism Ministry intend to capitalise on this achievement?

Taiping is the world’s third best Sustainable Destination.

On Sept 1, 1990, when opening a month-long celebration to mark the anniversary of the council, the then regent of Perak Raja Nazrin Shah suggested that the authorities formulate a strategy to develop the district’s historical assets and natural surroundings into a viable economic venture.

The scenic surroundings in many parts of the district, such as Bukit Larut or Maxwell Hill, Lake Garden and Matang Mangrove, as well as remnants of the past like Kota Ngah Ibrahim in Matang, the Perak Museum, World War 2 cemetery and railway station, can be developed to put Taiping on the tourist map as a heritage town.

But the call by the regent has yet to be given due consideration.

Even the announcement made in July 2013 that Taiping should be turned into a heritage town by the former tourism and culture minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, who hails from Perak, has not materialised.

What Taiping needs is a blueprint to develop the tourism assets of the town.

Unless the authorities are serious about developing the town, the words “Taiping Bandar Warisan” (Taiping Heritage Town), which greet those entering from Changkat Jering, will stay only on the signboard. If nothing is done, the signboard, too, may fall apart.