LANGKAWI: Boats travelling at high speeds are posing a threat to Langkawi maintaining its UNESCO Geopark status, said the Langkawi Development Authority (Lada).
Its chief executive officer Tan Sri Khalid Ramli said the waves created by these vessels could ruin the beaches and mangrove swamps - among the unique natural elements of the Langkawi archipelago that earned it the Geopark status from the Paris-based UNESCO on June 1, 2007.
"Experts have told me to address just one issue ... fast travelling boats in order for us to continue to become a leading Geopark," he said.
Khalid said that if Langkawi's natural environment was ruined, tourists would no longer visit the island and the income of locals who depended on tourism would drop.
Langkawi Geopark is located in the far northwestern corner of Peninsular Malaysia. Located in the northern state of Kedah, it is unique in the sense that it was formed on 99 islands that together make up the legendary Langkawi archipelago.
According to Khalid, UNESCO would carry out an assessment on the island's Geopark status sometime in August.
Following the first evaluation in 2011, Langkawi's membership in the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network was extended by four years. - Bernama