By Zulkafli Ibrahim
LANGKAWI, April 8 (Bernama) -- Over the years Langkawi has been firmly entrenched in the world tourism map as a 'must visit' resort island. However in recent years, the promotion drive to lure tourists here appeared to be losing some of its steam. At the moment there is no major project being implemented on the island. This could be due to the massive 'slash' in the budget for the Langkawi Development Authority or LADA.
In the Eighth Malaysia Plan (8MP), a total of RM431 million was set aside for LADA but in the 9MP, the authority received only RM173 million for development projects in Langkawi. Since its inception in 1991, the government had pumped RM1.6 billion into LADA and this had been well utilised to provide various social, economic and tourism infrastructures.
During that period, the island which is known for the legend of Mahsuri, had experienced a tremendous facelift that included the expansion of the Langkawi International Airport. Other implemented projects were the Kuah Jetty, network of roads, international sports complex and the LADA Complex itself. Existence of infrastructures have made the resort island a haven for tourists. In 2005, 1.8 million people visited Langkawi and this figure rose to 2.1 million in 2006.
Aggressive promotions held by Tourism Malaysia and other agencies helped to push the tourist arrival to 2.33 million in 2007, 2.3 million (2008) and 2.49 million last year. Other events staged such as the staging of Langkawi International Maritime and Aeropsace (LIMA) Exposition and Langkawi Ironman triathlon meet had also assisted in drawing the tourists.During the last LIMA held in December 2009, Langkawi recorded the arrival of 317,590 domestic tourists as compared against 293,166 in December 2007.
General Manager Azman Umar said the authority, with the collaboration of Tourism Malaysia, is taking measures to intensify tourism promotions for Langkawi.
He said LADA has mapped out several international events for its 'roadshows' abroad and these included the Asean Tourism Forum. LADA representatives had also visited Denmark and Finland last year and they will be in India and Australia next month."We are looking at the new market such as Australia and India as the two countries have many tourists who are interested in visiting Langkawi," he said after studying findings made by the LADA representatives who went to both nations early this year.He also calls on Langkawi residents to maintain cleanliness on the island without depending too much on the authorities to do the job.
INDEBTED TO TUN DR MAHATHIR
Meanwhile the State Legislative Assembly Representative for Kuah, Datuk Nawawi Ahmad said Langkawi residents and tourism operators are indebted to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for turning Langkawi into an international tourist destination. Nawawi said without Dr Mahathir's efforts and determination, Langkawi will not be transformed into Malaysia's leading resort island where from an island which was 'unknown', Langkawi had bloomed into that which features among others, the cable car, Galeria Perdana, Kota Mahsuri, Underwater World, Bird Park and Handicraft Complex.
Nawawi also hopes that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak would be able to continue Dr Mahathir's efforts in developing Langkawi. Najib had recently allocated RM7 million for the construction of a fishing jetty at Sungai Chenang here.The state assembly representative admitted that development in Langkawi in recent years had lost steam if compared against the time when Dr Mahathir was the prime minister.
FATHER OF DEVELOPMENT
Langkawi resident Ku Mansor Ku Sulong 53, said Tun Dr Mahathir is Langkawi's 'father of development' and the latter's efforts had prompted many of the island's residents to grab the economic opportunities made available.
Among these is the homestay programme and many houses in villages such as Kampung Wang Tok Rendong, Kampung Kuala Melaka, Kilim and Pulau Tuba have signed for the homestay packages. Chairman of the Kedah Chapter for the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) Pishol Ishak said Langkawi's tourism products should be diversified in order to maintain the steady stream of visitors to the tax-free island.Langkawi does not really need intensive and rapid development but it still needs to give attention on the infrastructures and environmental conservation to ensure the island remains a top-notch tourist draw.-- BERNAMA
I dont know about this article. But for me LADA is not doing enough to promote Langkawi. Looking at the allocation been given to LADA & tourist arrival is still not satisfactory. Jika dilihat peruntukan yg diberikan utk status Geo-Park pun dah tau yg LADA tidak menggunakan sumber kewangan dgn efficietn. (Soalan Parlimen & jawapan sbg bukti)