Langkawi expecting more domestic tourists

Domestic tourists arriving at the Langkawi jetty terminal. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

LANGKAWI Development Authority (Lada) is confident of receiving 100,000 domestic tourists in October alone, surpassing its initial target of 60,000.

Its chief executive officer Nasaruddin Abdul Muttalib said tourist arrivals had exceeded 50,000 as of Friday.

He said the resort island, which reopened to tourists under a travel bubble on Sept 16, received 38,784 tourists last month.

“The travel bubble has proven to be a success, with tourist arrivals exceeding our expectation.

“Many flights were booked by domestic tourists, and those coming in via sea route also increased in number since the government lifted the interstate travel ban on Oct 11.

“There are five trips from Kuala Kedah and Kuala Perlis ferry terminals in total, with higher tourist arrivals during the weekend.

The colourful Maha Tower in Kuah is an iconic landmark in Langkawi.The colourful Maha Tower in Kuah is an iconic landmark in Langkawi.

“Another contributing factor is the number of Covid-19 cases, where there is no sharp increase in positive cases among the locals here,” he said during a dinner with members of the media at Goldsands Hotel on Friday.

Nasaruddin said Lada was now ready to welcome international tourists should the government decide to open its international borders.

“We are willing and prepared to offer this destination as a pioneer project for international tourism.

“We are ready. In fact, we can start finalising the standard operating procedures with the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry and the National Security Council.

“We have proposed to them that international tourists must take a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test three days before their flight departure, and take another test upon arriving at our airport.

“And to prevent congestion at the airport, they can go straight to their hotels and conduct the test there.

“They can continue with their holiday if they are found to be Covid-19 negative. But if they are positive, then they should be quarantined in the hotel,” he said, adding that domestic tourists should also conduct their own Covid-19 tests with self-test kits.

Last Tuesday, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the mandatory Covid-19 testing for travellers going to Langkawi was no longer needed following the government’s decision to allow interstate travel.

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