File picture - Langkawi Skybridge picture
KUALA LUMPUR: Langkawi continues to lure tourists despite the closure of the Langkawi Sky Bridge, said Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.
Tourists could still enjoy the view as the cable car, known as Sky Cab, was still in operation, he said.
Nazri said the safety of the tourists visiting the bridge, dubbed as the world’s scariest suspension bridge hanging 700m above sea-level, was a priority.
The ministry was informed by the engineers about the risks, which was why they decided to close it, he told a press conference after launching Kelantan’s Red Warriors football team’s new jersey for the Asian Football Confederation Cup yesterday.
Nazri said Panorama Langkawi Sdn Bhd, which maintains the Sky Bridge and operates the Sky Cab, made profit and was able to give dividend to the state government.
“So there is no drop (in tourists).”
The Star reported that the Sky Bridge has been closed for almost 20 months due to a delay in getting funds and foreign consultants to conduct maintenance work.
The bridge, part of an RM80mil cable car project, is due to reopen only late this year.
The closure of the Sky Bridge, which had been attracting an average of 400,000 visitors a year, has caused frustration among foreign tourists who had travelled far to see and experience “an engineering marvel”.
It was reported that work for the bridge will be divided into two phases, the first phase being the rectification of the bridge’s main structures while the second phase will be spent to build an inclinator to bring visitors up to the Sky Bridge.
In Langkawi, some tour agencies are still promoting the Sky Bridge as it remains one of the biggest attractions on the island.
Friends of Langkawi Geopark deputy president Pishol Ishak said the tour agencies probably did not want to leave the attraction out of their brochures.
“There are other attractions on the island but it is quite difficult to find something that can top it,” he said.
When contacted yesterday, a Panorama Langkawi Sdn Bhd spokesman said they could not provide a figure for the yearly maintenance cost for the bridge as it was already closed when they took over and they did not have its record.