LANGKAWI: Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) has launched a RM5 million promotional fund for Langkawi to boost the island’s profile as a tourist destination.
Speaking at the launch of the fund, MAHB group CEO Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin said the Langkawi International Tourism Promotional Fund (LITPF) will start in June and operate for two years.
“The fund will be made available to eligible tourism industry players such as airlines, tour operators, travel agents and marketing companies,” he said, at the event which is being held in conjunction with the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2019 (Lima ’19).
MAHB will be working with the Langkawi Development Authority and Tourism Malaysia on the fund.
The launch of the fund also coincided with the inaugural Malindo Air flight from Phuket, Thailand, to Langkawi. The airline will ply the route three times a week.
“I am happy that the addition of the new Phuket-Langkawi route brings the total number or destinations served from Langkawi International Airport to 18, seven of which are international destinations,” Raja Azmi said.
He said the 30% growth in passenger traffic movement at the Langkawi International Airport last year was the result of extensive efforts to promote the island as an attractive destination through incentives for airlines and collaborations with tourism agencies.
This, he said, was something MAHB was also doing to boost network connectivity, especially at secondary airports.
Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook, who was also present at the event, lauded Malindo Air for taking up the challenge to fly from Phuket to Langkawi, an idea he said was mooted by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to tap into the Thai island’s tourism market.
He said he was pleased over the initiatives taken by MAHB to raise Langkawi’s profile globally.
The fund will complement Putrajaya’s efforts to boost inbound tourism, he added.
“I am also delighted to see Langkawi airport looking spruced up after the completion of its expansion work.”
On the service front, Loke said he was happy that the Langkawi International Airport is already on the Airports Council International’s quality benchmarking programme.
“In fact, it has been among the top three winners in its category for three years at the global Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards.”
Malindo Air CEO Chandran Rama Muthy reiterated that the airline was committed to continuing its promotion of Langkawi, having brought some 500,000 passengers to the island since 2017.
At the event, MAHB also launched “Himpun”, a collaborative effort with the Malaysia Design Development Centre (DDEC).
This will see booths set up at the Langkawi International Airport to showcase the best of Malaysian fashion, craft, delicacies and products.