Preserving Architectural Heritage as a Way of Increasing Tourism - ManLuNa Cluster from Misamis Visits Old Phuket

Preserving Architectural Heritage as a Way of Increasing Tourism - ManLuNa Cluster from Misamis Visits Old Phuket


6 - 11 June 2011. The LGU delegation from ManLuNa cluster in Misamis Oriental, Philippines, drew an important conclusion at the end of their study visit to their best practice city, Old Phuket, in Thailand: the best way to gain an insight into a project is to meet local stakeholders and see for yourself what the realities on the ground look like.

The aim of the trip was to find out more about Old Phuket's best practice in preserving its architectural heritage and reviving tradition as tourist attractions and engine of economic growth. The delegation, consisting of eight LGU officials and led by two mayors, met with their counterparts in Phuket for an intensive exchange of experiences. The participants particularly enjoyed the detailed introduction by a local expert, Dr Yongthanit Pimonsatein, of how the town started the conservation process and the revival of old traditions.

The field visit, where the participants had the chance to wander through the streets and examine the progress that had been made, was particularly inspiring - it became clear how heritage, not just beaches and hotels could attract tourists to Misamis Oriental as well. There clearly is some value to be found in not neglecting one’s history! The delegation was well briefed by the different stakeholders, who were involved in making the project a success: the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture as well as representatives of the private sector, civil society and the Old Town community.

The role of the various stakeholders, particularly local businesses and house owners and tenants was of particular interest to the visitors, who explored together with their hosts various ways of drawing in the local population. Without such engagement on the local level, the best efforts of the council will come to nothing; the delegation was impressed by the ways that had been found to make the people feel part of a joint enterprise.

Some of the members of the delegation also paid a short visit to Muangklang, also in Thailand, to look at the city’s environmental best practice, hoping to gain inspiration for the way waste was managed and even turned into a commercial success.