Despite being a Category I national heritage monument, Fort Cornwallis has for a long time been an underperforming tourism asset. That time may soon be over. Current conservation works being done there will soon change all that.
A work plan for the fort was first developed by asset owner Chief Minister Incorporated (CMI), in collaboration with Think City and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC). Together, these three form the tripartite partnership called the George Town Conservation and Development Corporation (GTCDC).
The aim of the RM15mil project is to reposition Fort Cornwallis as Penang’s premier tourist attraction, and to generate revenue for the state. Just down the road from the fort lies Port Swettenham, which is currently undergoing a berth expansion. Post-pandemic, it is poised to receive around one million visitors annually, which bodes well for the fort’s future as a tourist destination.
The first round of conservation started in February 2017, with extensive archaeological research and excavations being done around the Western moat. This uncovered many of the fort’s structures from different time periods, and enabled GTCDC to pilot possible restoration methods.