UTM Department of Urban Regional Planning, together with the prestigious Singapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability (SEC), made real contributions to Melaka’s tourism development and heritage conservation through leading an enlightening discussion and generating lively debates on reconciling tensions between tourism and heritage conservation in Melaka World Heritage City.

The One-day Workshop on Reconciling Tensions between Tourism and Heritage Conservation in Melaka World Heritage City, organised by the Melaka World Heritage Office on 19 August 2015, was attended by over 80 tour operators, tourist guides, hoteliers, NGOs, local community and business representatives, relevant government officials, scholars and historians who were concerned about tourism and heritage conservation issues in Melaka World Heritage Site.

Dr. Amran Hamzah who is UTM Professor of Tourism Planning has been the main person behind the design and programming of the one-day workshop which featured two Keynote papers by Prof. Amran himself and Dr. Trevor Sofield who was Senior Visiting Professor at UTM Department of Urban and Regional Planning.  These were followed by the presentation of three insightful research papers by researchers from the SEC  Future Cities Laboratory (FCL).  The Keynotes and research papers jointly widened workshop participants’ glimpses into possibilities and opportunities for planning and managing a World Heritage City in which tourists and local residents may co-present comfortably and draw benefits from such un-intrusive co-presence.

The involvement of SEC in the one-day workshop was possible through UTM Department of Urban Regional Planning ongoing internationalisation efforts while continuously enhancing its material contributions to local development planning.  A key outcome of the Department’s tireless internationalisation efforts has been the inking of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UTM and SEC earlier in the year.

The continuous development of strong academic links between the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and various internationally renowned institutions bears testimony to the Department’s consistent commitment to enhancing its teaching and research quality in urban and regional planning as well as the international recognition that it is increasingly gaining.