Langkawi needs 60% international travellers, says tourism association

Holiday spot: The Langkawi Development Authority had targeted the arrival of 5,000 international tourists to help generate RM24.4mil in revenue this year. — Bernama

LANGKAWI: The island resort is crying out for more foreign tourists, with only 376 of them arriving since the international tourism bubble pilot project began last month.

Langkawi Tourism Association chief executive officer Zainuddin Kadir, who disclosed this, said more has to be done as the island depended on foreign tourists.

“We need a ratio of 60% international and 40% local travellers to give the tourism industry here a boost. More international direct flights to Langkawi are needed.

“As of now, there isn’t enough foreign spending,” he said, adding that all the international tourists had arrived after transiting at the KL International Airport.

Zainuddin said in the week when the Malaysia-Singapore Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) was launched, only seven flights touched down in Langkawi, with each carrying fewer than 10 international passengers.

He said the tourism industry here was however grateful to locals for backing domestic tourism efforts during this period.

He said 487,000 locals visited Langkawi from Sept 16 to Dec 9 with up to 20 flights on weekdays and 10 more on weekends.

“It shows that Langkawi remains popular among local travellers. Instead of spending on overseas travel, we can stay at five-star hotels here and buy local products to help the economy. This will not only help Langkawi but the country as well,” he said.

On Oct 22, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the resort island would reopen to fully vaccinated international tourists under a pilot travel bubble project.

The Langkawi Development Authority (Lada) had targeted the arrival of 5,000 international tourists to help generate RM24.4mil in revenue under the project this year.

Zainudin said he believed that the low number of arrivals was due to the delay in gazetting the SOP (standard operating procedure) by the National Security Council.

He appealed to the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry to step up its promotion of Langkawi to help woo more foreign tourists.

Saying that foreign airlines needed more time to plan their routes, he added: “Many airlines have diverted their routes elsewhere. But we hope they will fly here next year.”

Langkawi was initially opened for domestic tourism from Sept 16 for adults who had completed their Covid-19 vaccination.

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