Making Langkawi Muslim destination spot detrimental to the island

Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng has raised concern over tourism, arts and culture deputy minister Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan’s announcement to position Langkawi Island as a preferred Muslim destination by emphasising on spiritual tourism.

“Khairul’s suggestion of Langkawi as a preferred Muslim destination has sparked grave concern amongst those in the travel trade, who have made investments and commitments based on branding Langkawi as an international island resort open to all.

“For this reason, it is necessary for Khairul to revise and backtrack on his announcement to restore confidence in the Langkawi travel industry.

“Limiting Langkawi only on niche sectors, such as the Muslim market, would be counter-productive by depriving itself of the non-Muslim tourism market,” said the DAP chairman.

Khairul had explained the above issue during the oral question session in Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Lim added that making Langkawi a Muslim tourist destination would be detrimental to the island.

“Bearing in mind that Langkawi is a UNESCO Global Geopark and a key destination for European, Indian, and Chinese tourists that are mainly non-Muslims, Khairul’s intention to rebrand Langkawi as a preferred Muslim destination would result in the rapid loss of its international appeal.

“Many in the travel trade, both Muslim and non-Muslims including duty-free shops, are now concerned that they will lose out on the lucrative non-Muslim tourist market following Khairul’s announcement.

“Other competing tourist destinations in neighbouring countries will only benefit at Langkawi’s expense from any diversion of tourists away from Langkawi.

“Handicapping Langkawi in this manner will undo the commendable work done by Tourism Arts and Culture Minister Tiong King Sing, who has thus far successfully promoted Malaysia as a tourist destination with increased tourist arrivals and dollars spent,” he said in a statement.

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