Foreign tourists to Langkawi on the rise while locals decline

A backdrop of the Kilim Geoforest Park in Langkawi.

PETALING JAYA: Langkawi’s tourist arrivals in 2018 dipped to 3.63 million visitors even as the number of foreign tourists increased significantly last year.

According to the data by Langkawi Development Authority (Lada), the island’s tourist arrivals in 2018 fell by 1.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) from 3.68 million visitors in the previous year.

International visitors increased by about 15.5% y-o-y to 493,664 in 2018. However, the number of domestic tourist arrivals was slashed by 116,529 or 3.6% y-o-y to 3.14 million people.

May and October 2018 saw the largest decline of tourist arrivals by 14.4% y-o-y and 13.2% y-o-y respectively. On the other hand, the tourist arrivals were the strongest in February and November 2018, higher by 14.8% y-o-y and 15.9% respectively.

Real estate agency Zerin Properties said in a report that the total international movements of the Langkawi International Airport stood at 369,307 last year.

Referring to the data by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), Zerin Properties pointed out that international passengers from the South-East Asian region comprised the majority or 57.4% of the total international movements into the island via the Langkawi International Airport.

This was followed by passengers from North-East Asia, representing 42.1% of the total international movements.

The expansion and upgrading works at the Langkawi International Airport, which was completed in Nov 2018, had increased the airport’s capacity from 1.5 million passengers per annum to four million passengers per annum.

The Kedah state government is targeting a RM9bil in tourism revenue from Langkawi by 2020, fuelled by the latest terminal expansion at the airport.

Moving forward, Zerin Properties said that several key initiatives and projects are anticipated to provide a boost to Langkawi’s tourism, both in terms of domestic and international tourist arrivals.

These include MAHB’s RM5mil Langkawi International Tourism Promotional Fund, which is expected to facilitate the marketing and promotion of Langkawi as an attractive destination.

The campaign will run for two years starting from June 2019 with the support of Lada.
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