Malaysia wants to infuse Qatari investments in various tourism-related projects in Langkawi Island, a vacation destination in the country’s State of Kedah, which has become popular among American and European tourists, an official has said. Dato’ Ahmad Shukri Tajuddin, managing director of Invest Kedah, a ‘government-linked company’ formed to attract and support business in Kedah, was in Qatar yesterday to invite major players in Qatar’s public and private sector to explore investment opportunities in Langkawi.
“We want to work with Qatari companies and businessmen in bringing more tourists into Langkawi Island. The state government wishes to seek a collaboration with them in coming up with development of resorts and hotels as well as getting more visitors from the Middle East into this island,” he told Gulf Times on the sidelines of a business networking session at the Malaysian Trade Centre in Doha yesterday. Speaking to select members of Qatar’s business community, Tajuddin said Malaysia had recorded growth in tourist arrival from 16.4mn visitors in 2005 to 25.7mn in 2015. Last year, Langkawi Island received 3.62mn tourists.
Tajuddin said Langkawi has some 500 hotels, ranging from 2-star, 3-star, and 4-star hotels, as well as a handful of 5-star hotels. The island also has its own international airport, and is a Unesco-recognised world geopark. “But we want to see more 5-star and 6-star hotels in the island,” he said, adding that aside from hotels, there are also potential areas for investment in villas, resorts, and yachts.
Aside from tourism, Tajuddin said Langkawi provides investment opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing, IT, and services. Invest Kedah plays the “key role” of working with government agencies and local authorities to ensure “seamless set up process” for local and international investors, he said. He said since its inception in 2006, Invest Kedah has played a “pivotal role” in the transformation of Kedah into a “progressive industrial powerhouse that it is today.” By working closely with investors and the local government, Tajuddin said, Invest Kedah connects investor and government interests.
“Kedah is a location of choice for many investors. Leveraging on Kedah’s advantages, many of our investors have grown by leaps and bounds since setting up operations,” Tajuddin said.