Is Langkawi turning into a ghost town?

AN apparent lack of buzz in Langkawi has raised questions whether the island is turning into a ghost town.

Langkawi Tourism Association chief (LTA) executive officer Zainudin Kadir told Sinar Harian that bookings at hotels rated three stars and below had dipped to 10% despite the coming Deepavali celebrations.

“Compared with last year, we forecast at least 58% decline in sales,” he said.

Zainudin said 31 out of the 163 food operators registered under LTA had to shut down while some car rental owners sold off their vehicles to avoid bank debts.

He cited a lack of ferry services and social media postings about pricey food to be among the reasons why travellers were staying away.

“There are many eateries that offer reasonably-priced food. The claims about food being costly are baseless,” he said.

Zainudin said he believed many locals preferred to travel to Hat Yai, Thailand, for holidays.

However Kuah assemblyman Amar Pared Mahamud dismissed talk about a decline in the number of tourists to Langkawi.

“It depends on factors including the change of season,” he said, adding that visitors number would be low during the monsoon season.

He noted that ferries were almost fully booked between Nov 6 and 13 for the Deepavali holidays.

Langkawi MP Datuk Mohd Suhaimi Abdullah told Kosmo! that the government should implement a full duty free status to rejuvenate the island’s tourism industry.

He also said the main problem now was the packed ferries due to the fewer number of trips between the island and the mainland.

“Now, tourists have to wait for hours to make a trip,” he said.

> Actress Rozita Che Wan, popularly known as Che Ta, has spoken out against critics of her only daughter, Kosmo! reported.

She was furious these unknown critics were posting uncalled for remarks at her eight-year-old girl on social media.

“Eh, kau jangan kurang ajar (you don’t be rude),” she told off a stranger on Instagram, saying that the person should take care of himself instead of commenting about other people’s children on a whim.

Che Ta, 50, married actor Zain Saidin in December 2013. She has two sons, aged 25 and 27, from a previous marriage.

● The above article is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with this ' >'sign, it denotes a separate news item.

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