Malaysia 2017 | TOURISM | COLUMN

TBY talks to Tan Sri Khalid Bin Ramli, CEO, Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) on the sector.

Tan Sri Khalid Bin Ramli

In order to maintain authenticity and attractiveness, LADA has drafted strict policies on urban and infrastructural development. What are the challenges to upholding these standards?

We share with the world our natural jewels, so any development must be in synch with our core business of eco-tourism. We do not seek to build up a manufacturing industry; we want to develop our tourism industry and maintain strict policies to balance rapid growth with sustainability. Langkawi has received UNESCO status as a fully fledged geopark; the first in Southeast Asia. Some of the geological rocks here are more than a billion years old.

What is the role of LADA in this development?

LADA is an agency under the Ministry of Finance and we are entrusted with responsibility in three business areas: tourism, community development, and development of local businesses. These fit in with the nation's Eleventh Malaysia Plan, promoting sustainability, inclusivity, and the creation of wealth. Tourism is the main driver of growth of Langkawi, and we want to ensure people participate. Looking at the statistics, there is a broad involvement of Langkawi's inhabitants in the tourism industry. This is about empowering the local community, while having larger businesses come in to facilitate broader-scale development.