CONSTRAINED by issues of sustainability and carrying capacity in the face of a rising tide of arrivals, Langkawi will sharpen its focus on the lucrative premium travel segment to attract more tourists.
Visitor arrivals to Langkawi climbed 12 per cent last year to reach 3.4 million tourists, surpassing the three million target intially set for 2015 in the destination’s 2011 tourism masterplan, according to Khalid Ramli, CEO of Langkawi Development Authority (LADA).
“We are hence revising our 2015 target to four million arrivals,” he said. “However, tourism receipts are still below our aim of RM3.8 billion (US$1.2 billion), so this will be a critical year for us to reach targets.”
The chief executive remarked: “We need to look at high net worth tourists because (this segment) will give higher revenue with a smaller number.”
“We don’t want amusement parks on Langkawi…We are focusing on iconic projects, not mega developments.”
In line with this stance, Langkawi’s property pipeline consists of several luxury hotels such as St Regis and Ritz Carlton, which will boost the destination’s room supply from the current 9,000 to 15,000 by 2017.
In addition, a host of new tourism products including an inclinator to bring visitors up to the Langkawi Sky Bridge (reopening by this year-end), an eco-theme park at the Oriental Village, Premium Outlets and World Cab Museum are to be launched in the Malaysian destination.
LADA is also leveraging Langkawi’s natural appeal to attract more sports and eco-related events, with high-profile events like the IFMA Muaythai World Championship and Ironman making their debuts this year.
Meanwhile, LADA is currently in talks with airlines and relevant authorities to welcome direct flights from the Middle East, China, South Korea and India, revealed Khalid.
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