Tourist arrivals to Langkawi bring new ray of hope to tourism operators, small traders

By BERNAMA

LANGKAWI, Sept 17  — The arrival of tourists to Langkawi Island has brought a new ray of hope to the island’s tourism operators and small traders.

Yesterday about 3,200 tourists arrived in Langkawi, also known as the Jewel of Kedah, and many more are arriving today following the reopening of the tourism industry under the travel bubble initiative beginning yesterday.

Checks by Bernama at Pantai Chenang, one of the island’s popular tourist spots, revealed that nearly all business premises had reopened since yesterday and the roads are beginning to be filled with vehicles.

Siti Fatimah Abidin, 29, who runs a souvenir and clothing stall said she has yet to feel the presence of tourists as it is still early days, however, she was thankful to be able to resume her business after businesses were forced to close for more than five months due to the restrictions implemented to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

She said she managed to make some money on the first day of the travel bubble initiative yesterday, adding that she hoped more customers would come today onwards.

“I am relieved to be able to resume the business. Previously we had to close, then reopened then closed again due to COVID-19 and finally, five months ago we had to close again,” she said when met by Bernama here today.

Water sports and recreational activities operator Salma Yusof, 50, said she had managed to sell several water sports packages to tourists.

She was optimistic that her sales would improve when more tourists arrive in the next few days.

“I am grateful to be able to earn again. When there were no tourists, we did not have any income at all,” she said.

Meanwhile, an agent selling travel packages who only wanted to be known as Aini said since yesterday she had been receiving calls from people wanting to know about the travel packages on offer.

“There are no reservations yet, only enquiries but I’m happy to be able to work again because I haven’t worked for five months and have no income,” she said.