Scholarly article on topic 'The Imaging of Heritage Conservation in Historic City of George Town for City Marketing'

The Imaging of Heritage Conservation in Historic City of George Town for City Marketing Academic research paper on "Economics and business"

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Procedia Engineering
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{"City marketing" / "heritage tourism" / conservation / culture / "city image"}

Abstract of research paper on Economics and business, author of scientific article — S. Ismail, N.A. Mohd-Ali

Abstract The Historic City of George Town in Penang, dubbed „the City of Living Culture’, has been gearing her development towards living up to the image. This paper examines the imaging of the Historic City of Georgetown for heritage tourism and city marketing tool by the public agencies involved. A short introduction to city marketing, imaging and heritage tourism is offered due to sparse literature in the built environment literature and to serve as a foundation to the main discourse of this paper. The rest of this paper discusses the conservation of heritage as image dimensions in the marketing of Georgetown. We submitted that Georgetown has successfully utilised and capitalised on its cultural diversity and tangible heritage based on its colonial legacy to promote the city as evidenced by its inscription into UNESCO's World Heritage Site list in 2008. Nonetheless, building and maintaining the synergy between the government, the private sector and the people is essential for sustainability of Historic City of George Town's heritage tourism industry.

Academic research paper on topic "The Imaging of Heritage Conservation in Historic City of George Town for City Marketing"

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Procedía Engineering

ELSEVIER

Procedía Engineering 22 (2011) 339 - 345

www.elsevier.com/locate/procedia

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The Imaging of Heritage Conservation in Historic City of George Town for City Marketing

The Historic City of George Town in Penang, dubbed „the City of Living Culture', has been gearing her development towards living up to the image. This paper examines the imaging of the Historic City of Georgetown for heritage tourism and city marketing tool by the public agencies involved. A short introduction to city marketing, imaging and heritage tourism is offered due to sparse literature in the built environment literature and to serve as a foundation to the main discourse of this paper. The rest of this paper discusses the conservation of heritage as image dimensions in the marketing of Georgetown. We submitted that Georgetown has successfully utilised and capitalised on its cultural diversity and tangible heritage based on its colonial legacy to promote the ci ty as evidenced by its inscription into UNESCO's World Heritage Site list in 2008 . Nonetheless, building and maintaining the synergy between the government, the private sector and the people is essential for sustainability of Historic City of George Town's heritage tourism industry.

© 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Universiti Teknologi MARA Perak and Institution of Surveyors Malaysia (ISM)

Keywords : City marketing, heritage tourism, conservation, culture, city image

1. Introduction

The process of imaging for city marketing purposes has the implication on culture, conservation and heritage. Cities in Malaysia have their own unique and distinctive images drawn from various cultural elements including traditions, heritage and culture. The Historic City of George Town in Penang, dubbed „the City of Living Culture', is gearing towards realising the image, focusing on its heritage buildings and living culture. This paper examines the imaging of the Historic City of George Town for city marketing

* Corraspocdicg puthor.

E-mail address: sumprci.upm@gmpil.com

S. Ismpil*, N.A. Mohd-Ali

Faculty of Design and Architecture, Universiti of Putra Malaysia

Abstract

1877-7058 © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.proeng.2011.11.175

S. Ionrnil and N.A. Mohd-Ali/Procedía Engineering20(2011- 220 - 345

tool by the public agencies. It began with a discussion on city marketing, imaging and heritage tourism as the foundation to this study. The context of this paper is set by briefly describing Penang and the Historic City of George Town before proceeding to discuss heritage and conservation which underlie the issue of city imaging and marketing. This paper concludes by the suggestion that building and maintaining the synergy between the government, the private sector and the public is essential for the sustainability of urban development of the city.

2. The nature of city marketing

Marketing concepts have permeated across a number of disciplines thus resulting in a burgeoning literature offering various vocabularies and perspectives. Unsurprisingly, a number of promotional activities have been employed by cities as marketing tools, viz. civic boosterism, place marketing, city branding, destination marketing, selling places and city imaging/re-imaging [1]. The city marketing is defined as "the adaptation of the traditional model of Marketing's 4p 's (product, price, place and promotion) and its performance in the procedure of city marketing' [2]. Successful marketing of a city highly depends on the city branding, a marketing concept that necessitates the creation of a specifically designed place identity and promotion to identified markets as depicted in Figure 1. A concept increasingly used by European cities, city branding may be said to be the culmination of city imaging, an extension of the image-building strategy in product marketing [3].

Figure. 1 : Communication of the city's brand. Sour/e: Kavaratzis (2004)

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3. Imaging of the city

Organisations now realised that successful marketing lies not in the product but in the crafted images. Taking the cue from the product marketing discipline, the importance of image is transplanted onto city marketing, through tourism circle where destination image have a powerful influence in the purchasing process [4]. Ashworth and Goodall illustrated how a holiday destination is selected based on the naive ilage (image formed through the formal and informal amassing of information) being well above the evaluative image (the aspiration level). Nevertheless, studying a city's image is not only for the benefit of the city's strategic planning and marketing but also reveals its citizen's level of satisfaction and pride [5]. Luque-Martinez et al. (2007) discussed in detail the process and elements needed to quantify a city's image, and heritage was ranked highly important. Heritage images become a selling point, besides evoking emotions and visualisations^].

4. Heritage tourism

Peleggi (1996) and Nuryanti (1996) demonstrated the locals' appreciation and pride of their own hegemony may cause heritage tourism to be more popular among domestic tourists, this only reinforces the case for heritage-related tourism products as a marketing stratagem for the relevant organisations [5,7]. Using images of the past, heritage tourism is not without detractors. Attractions that are heritage-based have been accused by Baudrillard (1983: 13 as cited in Peleggi, 1996) as '...a proliferation of myths of origin and signs of reality; of second-hand truth, objectivity and authenticity" [8].

5. Setting of the context

Penang is situated at the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia (see Figure 2). Although composed of an island and a portion of the mainland, "Penang" generically refers to the Penang Island. The state capital, George Town is located on the north-east corner of the island. Founded in 1786 by Francis Light, Georgetown and Penang thrived on their colonial past, which become a major selling point for the state's tourism. Displays the six conservation areas in Penang, with its distinctive flavours, building characteristics, social fabric and cultural ambiance [9]. The study on imaging of George Town intends to link the heritage conservation efforts of the state government with the overall view of the city's marketing plans.

Figure 2: Location of Penang

S. Ismail and N.A. Mohd-Ali/Procedia Engineering20(2011- 220 - 345

6. Methodology

The city has been inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage Site. The Nomination Dossier mainly highlighted buildings of colonial period. The main objective of this paper is to demonstrate the imaging of the Historic City of George Town via heritage-based tourist attractions as a city marketing tool. Qualitative data was gathered through semi-structured interview. Various approaches were used: personal interviewing of key personnel involved in the conservation, development, promotion and marketing of the city; observation of various landmarks and secondary data collection. An account of the city in relation to various popular images drawn from the media, historians, archives, brochures and magazines was also undertaken as to give an in depth understanding of the issues surrounding the projected image. The next step is to identify the key factors involved in the image building process from the perspective of the authorities. A list of all the factors involved was identified through 'snowball sampling". The process of tracking down key factors involved in the image making process was also done through networking.

7. The organisational structure

The management of heritage conservation in George Town is under the purview of the George Town World Heritage Incorporated. Any physical work is either carried out by the private sector or with financing by this office. Nonetheless, the creation and promotion of the city's image encompassing religious and colonial buildings as well as tangible and intangible heritage is undertaken by Tourism Penang and other relevant tourism agencies. The Ministry of Tourism, the federal agency responsible for promotional activities, maintains an office at the state level under its Tourism Malaysia arm. The state too has its own body to strategize and promote tourism in the state via the State Exco tourism committee. Beside this committee, the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) also has a division dealing with tourism development.

8. Heritage Conservation in Georgetown

The Historic City of Georgetown focuses its conservation efforts on pre-war buildings. The government's effort to put the old city or historic centre on the World Heritage List is an example of this. The site which has now garnered the World Heritage Site title covers an area of approximately 259.38 hectares comprising the 18th century town grid close to the waterfront and the historic multi-cultural neighbourhoods. The Nomination Dossier submitted to the UNESCO (outstanding universal values) includes:

"As on outstodPidg example of o traditional multi-/ulturol settlement whi/h best represents the culture of tolerod/e, peo/e, diversity, conflict ond continuity in the fo/e of modernisation ond so/iol /honge."

The site of the conservation zone is bordered by Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah covering existing conservation areas in the inner city area as well as important heritage buildings outside of the area as shown in Error! Reference source not found. above. The Inner City Trails of Georgetown (a series of walking tours promoted by the Penang Heritage Trust) are found in this area comprising:

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Table 1: The Inner City Trails of Georgetown

Source: Historic Georgetown Trails, published by PHT and ARTS-ED, Penang

Name Area

The Spice Trail Heritage Trail 1 Around Little India , Mahamariamman temple, Kapitan Kling Mosque, etc. Yap Kongsi, Khoo Kongsi, Acheen Street Mosque, Syed Alatas Mansion, Sun Yat Sen's base, Cheah Kongsi, Teochew temple, City Hall, Fort Cornwallis, State Assembly Building, Town Hall, Penang State Museum, Court Buildings, Convent Light Street, St. George's church, Penang Peranakan Mansion, King Temple Street, Goddess of Mercy Temple.

Heritage Trail 2 Penang State museum, Cathedral of the Assumption, Saint Xavier's Institiution, Hainanese Mariners Lodge & Penang Heritage Trust office, Carpenter Guild, Goldsmith Guild, Home of Batu Gantung, King Wan Association, Hainan Temple, Benggali mosque, Cheong Fatt Tze mansion, Leong Fee's mansion, Residence of Ku Din Ku Meh, Christian Cemetery, Saint Francis Xavier Church etc.

Figure 4: Penang Heritage Trail 1

Source: The Official Website of Tourism Penang by The Penang Tourism Action Council (www.tourismpenang.gov.my)

Legend:

1 Fort Cornwallis 7 Dr.Sun Yat Sen's Penang Base

2 City Hall 8 Syed Al Atas Mansion

3 Town Hall 9 Acheen Street Malay Mosque

4 Court Buildings 10 Khoo Kongsi

5 Penang State Museum 11 Cheah Kongsi

6 Yap Kongsi

S. Ismail cmd M.A. Mohd-AliCProcedia Engineermg20(2211- 222 - 345

Figure 5: Penang Heritage Trail 2

Source : The official website of Tourism Penang; (www.tourismpenang.gov.my)

Legend:

1 Penang State Museum 6 Benggali Mosque

2 Cathedral of the Assumption 7 Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

3 Hainanese Mariners' Lodge (Penang Heritage Trust) 8 Residence of Ku Din Ku Meh

4 Carpenters' Guild 9 Christian Cemetery

5 Hainan Temple 10 Saint Francis Xavier Church

The design of the brief tour of the nominated World Heritage site will expose one to buildings which are mainly of European and Chinese origins (depicted by the images in previous pages), with a few exceptions like the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, the Acheen Street Malay Mosque and the Kapitan Kling Mosque. To the British tourist, it is nostalgic, reminding them of the glorious past of the British Empire; to the Chinese and Indians it remind them of their beginnings and their success in Penang; but to the indigenous population whose ancestors watched Light's first landing on the island, these historic buildings may be painful reminder of their downfall and exclusion from Georgetown. Images give rise to emotions and sentiments for different people.

9. Living culture images

Georgetown, with its population consisting of Chinese, Indians and Malays lays a claim to a living culture thriving on its diversity. Its local culture, a mixture of Chinese, Indian "Jawi Peranakan", Jawi Pekan and Malays (of local Arabic, Rawa, Minang, Achinese, and Javanese descent) traditions, is a potential selling point. Nonetheless, these cultural resources, analogous to "raw materials" in the production process, need to be pummelled into a saleable tourist product. Thus an image is constructed of a community with different ethnic groups but able to live in harmony. The Harmony Trail with its

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collection of historical buildings of Chinese, Indian and Malay origins has come to this harmonious existence. The State government, in its effort to place Georgetown on the World Heritage List banked on the image to fulfil UNESCO's Criteria (ii), that is, "Exhibit an important in interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture and town planning".

10. Discussion

Image creation is a selective process. Penang has chosen its colonial history as its image. The "Timeless Penang" image was created for the state, following which the "City of Living Culture" image tailored for George Town. The heritage buildings were chosen as tourism products as with the cultures of ethnic groups (languages/dialects, belief system, ritual and lifestyle). Penang has achieved in creating a strong image, though it needs to sell the 'product' through promotion and participation from public and private sectors. The Historic City of George Town has successfully capitalised on its cultural diversity and tangible heritage. With a well structured heritage policy underlining its future development, the Historic City of George Town is on its way to ensure that it lives up to the image of a Historical City. While the image can be projected in a static way via conservation and preservation, it can also be projected in a dynamic way by promoting the people. A concerted effort between the government, private sector and local community is vital to ensure the sustainability of Historic City of George Town's heritage tourism industry.

References

[1] Smith, A. (2005), Conceptualizing City Image Change: The 'Re-Imaging' of Barcelona, Tourism Geographies, 7(4): 398-423

[2]Deffner, A. and Metaxas, T. (2006), Is City Marketing Opposed to Urban Planning? The Elaboration of a Pilot City Marketing Plan for the case of Nea Iolia, Magnesia, Greece, Proceedings of the 46th Congress of the European Regional Science Association, Volos, Greece.

[3]Kavaratzis, M. and Ashworth, (2005), City Branding: An Effective Assertion of Identity or Marketing Trick?, Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 96(5): 506-514.

[4] Ashworth, J. G. and Goodall, B. (1989), Tourist Images: Marketing Considerations. In the Tourism Industry: The Promotion of Destination Regions, G. Ashworth and B. Goodall, eds., 213-238, Croom Helm, London

[5]Peleggi, M. (1996), National Heritage and Global Tourism in Thailand, Annals of Tourism Research, 23(2): 432-448.

[6]Luque-Martinez, T., Del Barrio-Garcia, S., Ibanez-Zapata, J. A. and Molina, M. A. R. (2007), Modelling a City's Image: The Case of Granada, Cities, 24(5), 335-352.

[7] Nuryanti, W. (1996), Heritage and Postmodern Tourism, Annals of Tourism Research, 23(2): 249-260 Penang Story, Fourth Colloqium of "The Penang Story" Penang's Historic Minorities, 2nd Februry 2002. City

[8]Baudrillard, J. (1983), Simulations, Semiotext(e), New York.

[9] Mohamed, B., Mustafa, R.A. and Rahim, A. (2005), Heritage Tourism in a Multicultural Society: The Case of Malaysia. Proceedings of 3rd Global Summit on Peace through Tourism, Pattaya, Thailand. 2 October: 141-147.