Many types of tourism can co-exist, say hoteliers

LANGKAWI: There is more the government can do to promote Langkawi than overtly publicising it as a preferred Muslim destination, say hoteliers.

Eugene Dass, chairman of the Malaysian Association of Hotels’ Kedah/Perlis chapter, said Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan’s announcement in Parliament was nothing new as the island has been enjoying support from Arabs and visitors from other Middle-Eastern nations for some time.

The Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister had told Dewan Rakyat earlier yesterday that Langkawi will be promoted as a Muslim-friendly, family-oriented destination with a focus on the spiritual aspect.

“There is no reason to overtly promote Langkawi as a Muslim destination as all types of international tourists should be welcome.

“Presently, there is a fair mix of European, Chinese, Arab, Australian and American tourists,” said Dass.

He said they would rather the ministry concentrate on more urgent issues such as improving the condition and management of tourist attractions in Langkawi, some of which leave much to be desired.

“Either way, hotels on the island are ready as they have halal certification, including halal restaurants, amenities and facilities for Muslim tourists,” he added.

On the possibility of a clampdown on tourists with skimpy outfits and alcohol consumption, Dass said there is no need to press the panic button just yet without any details of the proposal.

Hotelier Datuk Alexander Issac said as a marketing strategy, Langkawi can be promoted as a Muslim-friendly destination but it will in no way affect other types of tourists.

“We have adopted this kind of promotions for many years and been receiving visitors from all over the world.

“What we need are more direct flights and good jetties at Kuala Kedah and Kuala Perlis, with better dredging done to ensure ferries operate on schedule and not according to tides.”

Issac said the ministry should consider extensive overseas campaigns to promote Langkawi, especially places such as its Unesco Global Geopark as well as its mountains and rock formations, some of which are as old as 500 million years.

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Langkawi , Muslim Destination , Tourism , Hoteliers


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