Langkawi tourism players are lining up plans to promote Tuba Island’s natural beauty and unique cultures, in hopes of putting the remote island on the map as a tourist destination.
Rosly Selamat, a committee member of NGO Friends of Langkawi Geopark (FLAG), said the availability of scheduled passenger boat services between Kuah and Tuba Island since early last year has made the island accessible to tourists.
He shared: “Sadly, not many locals outside of Langkawi have heard of Tuba Island. Mention Tuba Island, and some think it is in Sabah or off the coast of Mersing in Johor. One foreign tourist even quipped, ‘You mean Tuba City in Arizona?'”
The island has a population of around 3,000 people, of whom the majority are fishermen and farmers, according to Rosly.
There were around 30 homestay operators on Tuba Island many years ago but now there are only 13, of which 10 are active.
FLAG is working closely with these operators to upscale their premises and upskill their talents so they can provide visitors with an authentic Malay kampong experience.
Rosly opined: “We believe homestay visitors will enjoy experiencing the culture and lifestyle of the locals and this will be a draw to attract domestic tourists from cities to make a day trip or overnight stay on Tuba Island. And later when the border reopens, we plan to market the island to foreign tourists by enhancing our collaboration with some of the local inbound agents.
“We are also looking at options to secure micro-credits from financial institutions, including government soft loan facilities to allow these operators to purchase needed supplies to upscale their premises. Each homestay could do well in terms of providing bicycles to their guests.”
Tuba Island is part of the Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park, rich with great limestone formations, marbles and unique geological features.
FLAG also plans to set up a website to promote the island’s natural beauty and tourism products including homestays and link the site to Langkawi Development Authority’s website and other related tourism websites in order to give the island greater exposure.