LANGKAWI: The Langkawi Development Authority (Lada) is preparing the Langkawi Unesco Global Geopark (LUGGp) management blueprint to ensure it stands agile and relevant in the future.
Its deputy chief executive officer Wan Kamarul Faisal Wan Kamardin said this blueprint will become the primary document to manage LUGGp for another five years, from 2024-2028.
“Lada also looks forward to adding more value to LUGGp management and preparing for the next revalidation in 2027,” he said in a statement to The Star.
Wan Kamarul said the blueprint will consist of important strategies and initiatives that will support sustainable tourism and development of the island. It will focus on Lada and Langkawi’s main agenda, which is to become a magnificent geo-tourism destination in the world.
He added that Lada is excited to implement any suggestion and improvement made by Unesco assessors in the previous revalidation 2023.
“Way forward, the focus will be more on sustainability in action, especially on marine debris solutions and youth empowerment in taking charge of the geopark agenda such as conservation of geological heritage, biodiversity and culture richness,” he said.
Wan Kamarul added that apart from that, LUGGp will strengthen cooperation within the networks of 211 UGGp in 48 countries by exchanging best practices in island destinations.
He said Lada hopes that Unesco Global Geopark (UGGp) will expand and LUGGp will be consulting geopark certification for South-East Asian countries, especially Cambodia, Laos and Timor-Leste. He added that these will position LUGGp to become a leader of the Malaysia Geopark Network in getting national geopark certification by UGGp.
Meanwhile, he said the total arrival of tourists from January to September this year is 2.04 million. In 2022, he said that Langkawi recorded 2.58 million tourist arrivals.
“Our forecast for visitor arrivals for October is about 250,000. We target 3.2 million visitor arrivals this year with RM5.78bil in tourist receipts,” he added.In positioning Langkawi as a sustainable destination with a unique selling proposition (USP) of beach and island resort destinations, Lada is engaging with airlines to improve connectivity (chartered or scheduled flights).
“In 2024, Langkawi will host the most significant airline conference and route networking event – Routes Asia 2024 from Feb 27-29. Over 600 participants which involve 3,000 meetings are expected to take place during the event,” he said, adding that Lada is honoured to host the most prominent and significant airline conference in Asia-Pacific.
He said Langkawi has several new attractions such as the Maha Tower in Kuah, underwater sculpture at Pulau Pasir, Dream Forest Langkawi, which is Malaysia’s first integrated themed attraction, and Eagle Nest Skywalk at Gunung Machincang.
The Malaysian Association of Hotels Kedah/Perlis chapter chairman, Eugene Dass, said any sort of recognition will benefit the island.
“I think it will put Langkawi on the world map again and people will visit. This will benefit the hotel and tourism industry,” he said when contacted.
Dass said all stakeholders on the island must work together with Lada and the municipal council to ensure the island can reap the benefits.
He said it is also important to improve public transportation, create more direct flights to the island and keep the island green.
“We need to find a way to educate people about tourism and the recognition the island received so that they will appreciate it too,” he added.