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Langkawi tourism players concerned about poor ferry frequency ahead of Lima 2023

Publish date: Thu, 09 Feb 2023, 06:48 PM

LANGKAWI: Tourism players in the island today expressed concern over the poor ferry frequency ahead of the Langkawi International Air and Maritime Exhibition 2023 (Lima'23) scheduled for May 23 to 27.

The business operators, who wanted to be known as "13 Industry Players" (PI13), urged for drastic action by the authorities.

"The ferry consortium has pledged to operate up to five trips a day, but on certain days, there are only three trips for the Langkawi route due to shallow waters.

"Our biggest concern is that online bookings for ferry rides for March and throughout Lima'23 have yet to be opened," Datuk Norazly Rosly, the spokesman for the group, told a press conference in Kuah today.

He said the group decided to raise the issue so that the authorities could take action to ensure the tourism industry benefited from the prestigious exhibition.

The group said to compound matters, flight fares were also rising ahead of Lima'23.

"Airlines are taking advantage of the situation to hike plane fares from Kuala Lumpur International Airport by up to RM300 for a one-way flight.

"If the issue continues, it will affect tourist arrivals for Lima'23," Norazly said.

He said the situation made it difficult for travellers to plan their accommodation and car rental bookings.

The last edition of the exhibition, Lima'19, attracted 42,030 delegates from 63 countries, involving 406 local and international exhibitors. It attracted 240,000 visitors during the five-day exhibition.

Last month, the Transport Ministry called for ferry services in Langkawi to be improved ahead of Lima'23.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke had said he had directed the Marine Department to look into ferry service issues as there were operational problems that needed to be resolved.

He had said the ministry wanted to ensure there was good and reliable ferry services between Kuala Kedah, Kuala Perlis and Langkawi.

Lima'23 is set to be the largest edition of the event since its inception in 1991. The event will feature more than 600 exhibitors from 30 countries.

On Jan 9, Marine Department northern region director Mohd Hafiz Abdul Majid said the maintenance dredging work at the Kuala Perlis jetty terminal, which was supposed to improve the passenger ferry frequency for the Kuala Perlis-Langkawi route, would be delayed by four months.

He said the project, which was approved last February, was behind schedule as the contractor had requested for an extension until May 20, but the department and stakeholders want the project to be done by April 30.

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