MALACCA, MALAYSIA: The state will soon offer free tourist-guide and endangered-craft trade courses for locals to preserve Malacca's living heritage following the city's inscription as a Unesco World Heritage Site (WHS).
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said that modules for the six-month part-time night classes are open for locals interested in the profession, and the state will seek sponsorship for them.
"We will work with the Heritage Ministry and other related bodies such as Malacca Tourism Academy, industrial training institutions and experienced tourist guides to formulate the curriculum.
We hope to get the courses running by this October," he told reporters after officiating at the launch of month-long celebrations to mark the city's inscription as a WHS.
Some 15,000 locals and tourists gathered in front of the 17th-century Dutch Stadhuys complex recently to witness the event that included cultural performances from the communities here.
Mohd Ali said it was crucial for the state to maintain its living heritage while protecting its historic monuments and buildings to ensure the WHS inscription was not retracted by Unesco.
"One way is to get those living within the heritage zone to involve themselves in the tourism industry as this will encourage them to preserve their unique way of life," he said.
Meanwhile, he said that representatives of the state and Georgetown in Penang would sit regularly with officials of the Heritage Ministry to ensure the WHS guidelines were followed.
Earlier, in his speech, Mohd Ali said the inscription of Malacca and Georgetown as historic cities of the Straits of Malacca brought great joy and pride to the people of Malaysia.
With this international recognition, he said the country would be firmly entrenched on the world tourism map and be on par with other historic cities around the world.