Miri – 3 September 2012 – There is a greater need to communicate the World Heritage brand and its values to the public, said Dr. Lisa Marie King of the Curtin Sarawak Research Institute (CSRI) of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) when presenting at the recent International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) meeting in Cairns, Australia.
The meeting was held in conjunction with the fortieth year of UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention to review and discuss topics regarding Australia’s World Heritage Sites.
According to Dr. King, certification awarded to national parks or cultural sites is a very significant recognition and therefore, these world heritage sites must be preserved for future generations to learn from and appreciate.
She related that her research in Australia found a large number of visitors were unaware of the places they visit are recognised as World Heritage Sites.
“We could do a better job in raising awareness of the World Heritage brand and its values to the public in Australia as well as in other countries around the world,” she remarked.
She further remarked that she will soon be embarking on a similar research programme in Malaysia to find out how prominent a role the World Heritage brand is as a factor in attracting visitors to Malaysia’s World Heritage Sites.
“The research findings will not only influence our presentations of these amazing places to the public but also how we market them for a greater appreciation of these World Heritage Sites,” she elaborated.
In referring to Malaysia, she noted that there are currently four World Heritage Sites in the country such as Gunung Mulu National Park in Miri, Sarawak; Kinabalu National Park in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah; Melaka and George Town, both historic cities of the Straits of Malacca; and the archaeological heritage site at Lenggong Valley in Ulu Perak, Perak.
Dr. King also added that meetings such as the IUCN meeting are a rare opportunity for regional experts to get together and share their ideas, challenges and success stories.
Dr. King’s diverse interests cover sustainable tourism, capacity building, new development of tourism-related products and services, environmental education and the branding and marketing of tourist attractions such as national parks and World Heritage Sites to better meet the needs of park managers, visitors and local businesses.
The IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organisation. It is a leading authority on the environment and sustainable development while being a neutral forum for governments, NGOs, scientists, business and local communities to find pragmatic solutions to conservation and development challenges.
For more information on CSRI, visit its website at www.curtin.edu.my/csri/index.htm or call +60 85 443 939.
Information on Curtin Sarawak can be found at www.curtin.edu.my or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CurtinUniversitySarawakMalaysia.