THE announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak about making Langkawi rank among the top 10 islands in the world was timely and refreshing for the tourism potential of this group of 99 islands in the sun.
It is reassuring to read of the Federal Government’s continuous commitment to develop Langkawi. The slogan “Naturally Langkawi” helps to brand the country’s tourism efforts well.
Langkawi certainly has its own true-blue tourist attractions, which should not be distracted by the mystic charm of Bali’s “Island of the Gods” image or the party escapades of Thailand’s Phuket, Koh Samui and Phi-Phi.
Langkawi may be no Maldives, Mauritius or the Seychelles of the Indian Ocean, but it should just be Langkawi with its idyllic natural charm and pure allure.
We should now perhaps tone down its association with mystical legends although we cannot separate it from history and stories of old.
However, in our effort to place Langkawi in the world’s top 10 list of islands, pitching it just right should be done clearly without comparison with other island contenders.
It’s like the “Malaysia, Truly Asia” catchphrase and living up to it. There should be a theme song associated with the new buzzwords “Naturally Langkawi,” which should spread in viral fashion around the world.
Langkawi has all the while been a naturally blessed island paradise of not one but a group of islands, with some putting the number at 99, while others count up to 104 islands.
I have always been mesmerised by a “from the top” view of the islands, and even more so when cruising the waters between them.
Such a congregation of islands in one place and in a natural state of beauty is itself a pull factor like no other.
Hopefully Langkawi’s attractions of natural wonders, such as rare geological formations and the flora and fauna, will remain intact with balanced tourism development in the five-year blueprint.