UUM ONLINE: To invigorate the tourism industry, specifically in the state of Kedah, the School of Tourism, Hospitality and Environmental Management (STHEM), UUM, hosted an Inaugural Lecture series on the theme “Heritage Tourism and Archaeology in Kedah (Potential and Challenges),” at the foyer of the Sultanah Bahiyah Library, recently.
The session featured two prominent figures in the field of tourism, heritage and archaeology in Kedah, namely, Dato' Mohd Rawi Abd Hamid and Prof. Dato' Dr. Mokhtar Saidin. Dato' Mohd Rawi Abd Hamid is the Chairman of the Committee for Religious Affairs, Public Works, Tourism, and Heritage, while Prof. Dato' Dr. Mokhtar Saidin is the Director of the Centre for Global Archaeological Research, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
The session began with a lecture by Prof. Dato' Dr. Mokhtar Saidin, entitled “The Sungai Batu Archaeological Site and the Jerai Geopark as the Latest Tourist Attractions in the State of Kedah.”
"In 2007, the government decided to develop the Bujang Valley and USM was directed to make the necessary preparations for the said purpose.
"During the course of our study there, we unearthed 97 sites and began a detailed study of them two years later, which has continued till this day," he said.
He added that those archaeological sites, as a whole, could be turned into a major tourism product in the manner of the Angkor Wat, which had shown its capacity to draw a constant stream of tourists. Emulating such efforts, he said, would help generate sufficient revenue to perk up the economy of the nation, in general, and that of Kedah itself, in particular.
Meanwhile, the Honourable Dato' Mohd Rawi, in his lecture entitled 'Towards Empowering the Tourism Industry in Kedah', revealed that Kedah had a wide range of tourism products, including archaeological discoveries such as those found in the Bujang Valley, which needed to be audited for the purposes of elevating them to world class standing.
The session was also attended by the Vice-Chancellor of UUM, Prof. Dato' Seri Dr. Mohamed Mustafa Ishak, who, in his welcoming speech, said that history was important and that it should become a source of pride to the younger generations of the future.
Following the lectures was an informative Q&A session, which was moderated by Prof. Emeritus Dato’ Dr. Abdul Kadir Lebai Din.
Earlier in the morning, before the session, both the speakers paid a courtesy call on the Vice-Chancellor at the Visitors’ Lounge, Chancellery.
Translated by Nur Ida Faradilla binti Aziz
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