TOURIST INFRASTRUCTURE PROVISION VERSUS SUCCESSFUL DESTINATIONS CASE STUDY: LANGKAWI ISLAND Jamil Jusoh & Badaruddin Mohamed
School of Rousing, Building & Planning Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia. ABSTRACT Malaysian government has been spending more than US86 million from its annual budget every year for tourism promotion. Since tourism has been identified as the second most important sector of the economy after manufacturing, nearly 30% of the budget allocation is channeled towards physical development, providing infrastructure and services. Compared to other Southeast Asian countries, Malaysia stands amongst top countries in term of providing a first class tourist infrastructure. Apart from this huge allocation, nonstop promotion and high government incentives for the tourist operators, the arrival of international tourists to Malaysia cannot be considered encouraging enough and tourist activities are slowing down. Why do this happen? Are these the results of poor and insufficient provision of tourism products? Does promotion and marketing strategy implemented by the tourism-related sector not fulfilling the required information and drives needed by the tourist markets? Why are other South-East Asian countries could prosper despite having limited financial resources and substandard infrastructure facilities? All these questions will be answered in this paper. Keywords:Tourist Infrastructure, Malaysia, Tourism Planning, Development LANGKAWI - INTRODUCTION Langkawi, "The Island of Legend" is located between Sumatra and Western Thailand. It is at the northwest of Peninsular Malaysia. Comprising a group of 104 islands, the biggest being Langkawi, it is a place for those seeking tranquility and refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life. So powerful is its charm on visitors that many have returned to the island time and again. a) Total land area is 47,848 hectares(478.48 sq. km) b) There are only three islands that are inhabited. - Langkawi Island (65,202 sq.km) - Dayang Bunting Island (501 sq. km) - Tuba Island (3,894 sq.km) Most of the development is in the main town of Kuah and in isolated beach resorts around the coast. The airport is located on this island as well hotel resorts, restaurants and shops. The two main beaches, Pantai Cenang and Pantai Kok, are on the island's western coast, with Pantai Cenang being the most popular as the venue for hotels and restaurants. Dotted along the northern coast are the more luxurious resorts.
Map of Langkawi
LANGKAWI IN THE CONTEXT OF THE NORTHERN GROWTH TRIANGLE
The Northern Growth Triangle Development Project, or the Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT), is a newly proposed area for regional economic co-operation among three of the seven members of the ASEAN countries, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. This project proposes a growth triangle compassing northern Sumatra in Indonesia, the four northern western states of Peninsular Malaysia (Perak, Penang, Kedah and Perlis) and Southern Thailand. The Northern Growth triangle promotes its aspiration by focusing on its efforts on eight areas of economic co-operation, namely, agriculture, fishing, livestock, tourism, trade and commerce, industry, infrastructure and human resources. The most important forces, which will influence the realization of this co-operation within the Northern Growth triangle, are a shared common race, religion and culture.
WHY LANGKAWI'S INFRASTRUCTURE IS GIVEN ATTENTION?
Infrastructure in Langkawi is equal to those in the active economic area in Malaysia even though this island is still early to move and need development boost to develope. Among the main reasons why Langkawi is given prirorities are: Special interest of the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir towards the island whom he perceived as a "golden child" and as the main tourism center of the northern region of Malaysia. Major developments on the island...
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