The importance of Tourism as a big money earner and therefore big business has suddenly dawned upon Malaysia. That 1990 has been declared ‘Visit Malaysia Year’, by the Government is only correct and deserve support from all sectors of the country.
Architecture has an integral part to play in Tourism. Tourists visiting Malaysia will be looking and visiting our architecture from the past, and living and enjoying our architecture of the present.
In conjunction with the conference organized by PAM for the CAA Assembly and Council meeting to be held in Kuala Lumpur from September 28th to October 1st, 1989. Majallah Arkitek has devoted this issue towards resort and recreational orientated projects in Malaysia. We examine some of the more recently completed projects, mainly hotels and resort buildings. Their scale diversified due to economic constraints, functional usage and tourist group.
Tourism is one industry which is sensitive to disruption, be it political or industrial. Recent events have demonstrated very dearly how tourism can be drastically affected. China’s crackdown on students in Beijing sent shockwaves of fear among would-be visitors and nearly destroyed the tourist industry in China; and the pilot strike in Australia has brought the whole Australian tourist industry to its knees. Tourists are essentially pleasure seeking, comfort biased and safety conscious people. Acts of terrorism in Europe and the Middle East has helped diverted many more American tourists towards Asian destinations.
Malaysia is blessed with a diversity of cultural groups, its floral and fauna unique and an equally unique social history sourced from domination by colonial groups whose impressions are still visible to day. These being natural attractions to tourists must be preserved and maintained as important national assets. Tourists will not visit Malaysia purely to enjoy its expensive and impressively designed click here grand hotels. Architecture and tourism are inseparable and integrated, but it does not stop there.
Facilities which tourists touch ‘first and last’ in Malaysia need to leave a lasting impression on them. Therefore, in designing facilities for Airport, Immigration check points, harbors etc. architects must ensure easy movement, functionalism, comfortable and conduciveness. The drab image of Immigration checkpoints needs to be redressed. Long queues at check points and baggage claim carousels ought to be images from the past. This is the principle role for architects when assisting project planners on simple elementary problems of moving large volume of people during peak period all in a matter of minutes.
Malaysia’s rich heritage is a constant attraction to overseas visitors. It is therefore imperative that conservation and preservation of the heritage be maintained. The recent concern and awareness of our past and their importance is encouraging. Various heritage organizations, namely Badan Warisan Malaysia and Sahabat Warisan Malaysia who have been fighting an uphill battle with local authorities to save much of our history for posterity are now heartened by recent statements by the Minister of Public Works – Datuk Leo Moggie at the PAM Annual Dinner recently and the Minister of Housing and Local Government Mr. Lee Kim Sai at the recent Forum on ‘The Conservation of Traditional Value in Building and Planning’. With such support and encouragement from the Government, conservation of our historic past and architecture is quarantined for the time being.
Tourism has to do with architecture and history. With conservation awareness prominent in the minds of our architects, Malaysia can look forward to an exciting era in architecture, which reflects the contextualism of Malaysia and therefore a unique attraction for Malaysians to live in and enjoy; and also for tourists to visit.