Langkawi fighting to attract foreign tourists back

 Thursday, November 24, 2022 


Tucked away from the northwest Malaysia is the coast of the island of Langkawi which is often flaunted as Kedah state’s jewel, with turquoise waters and verdant trees all around.

For decades, it’s relaxing pale coastline and jungle-covered valleys have drawn the locals as well as tourists world over.

Tourism accounted for almost 90 per cent of its economy, before COVID-19 struck.The holiday destination took a harsh impact during the pandemic situation when arrival of tourists became idle. Businesses were closed down and many locals lost their jobs.

Norhayati Noor was one such influenced business owner who had to close her tour company on a temporary basis. She had to pay rental costs on top of losing her income.

Ms Norhayati, the director of Marine Waves Holidays, said that for two years, they couldn’t do any business. Cenang (beach) used to be a hot and happening place. However, during the heights of COVID-19, it turned into a ghost town. So, how they could keep their businesses running? But even then, rental costs will still be applied, said Norhayati.

With the simplifying of restrictions and international travel returning to normalcy slowly, Langkawi is witnessing a recovery on a gradual basis after reopening its shores to visitors in 2021.

In 2022, tourist hotspot is on track to hit 2.5 million tourist arrivals, according to the authorities.

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