Help sought to revive Langkawi’s tourism industry


Back on the map: A family walking by a pair of jet skis on a beach in Langkawi, Kedah. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

LANGKAWI: Tourism players here hope there will be a booster shot for the island’s tourism sector in Budget 2024.

They said tourist arrivals had been lacklustre after the Covid-19 restrictions and hope the Budget will allocate funds to help the island draw in the crowds.

Better ferry connectivity and more direct flights to Langkawi International Airport were major needs, said Malaysian Association of Hotels Kedah/Perlis chapter chairman Eugene Dass.

He said feedback from member hotels on year-end bookings was not encouraging.

“Langkawi needs better ferry connectivity and more affordable direct flights so that local and foreign tourists can come and spend their holiday here,” he said.

He said the government should also look into injecting more funds or grants for the tourism sector.

On the plus side, Dass said abolishing the tax-free status for tobacco products had not dented tourism, pointing out that he had never heard of people shunning the island just because there were no more tax-free tobacco products.

Langkawi Adventure and Extreme Park manager Mohamad Firdaus Ahmad Yusri lamented that currently, the arrival of tourists was not good.

“It is not like before the pandemic, when the island enjoyed a large influx of tourists especially on weekends and public holidays,” he said.

Mohamad Firdaus said bookings to the park for the year-end holidays were slow.

Before the pandemic, he said the park was fully booked a month before the holiday started.

“But now, the booking rate has only reached 40%.

“Perhaps the Federal Government can consider giving some kind of stimulus to improve the transportation modes to Langkawi in the budget,” he added.

Tourism entrepreneur Ahmad Phisol Isahak hoped to see the island’s tourism back to its glory days.

“The Federal Government must help us revive Langkawi and make it lively again,” he said.

Ahmad Phisol suggested that the ferry connectivity must be improved as it was the preferred option for domestic tourists to arrive and leave the island.

He said better facilities for the local entrepreneurs should also be implemented.

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Budget 2024. Langkawi

   

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