LANGKAWI (May 30): Opening up luxury hotels such as The St Regis Langkawi is a strategy to boost the reputation of the island resort particularly among upmarket tourists, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday.
He said Langkawi Island would become more internationally known through other developments to follow.
“What we have not been able to do is bring upmarket or premium tourists to Langkawi. When we can do so, we will get more high-paying jobs and more demand for handicrafts,” he said.
He told reporters this after a brief visit to The St Regis Langkawi hotel, which would be opened by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah.
The prime minister said the six-star hotel would lead to more tourism infrastructures to cater to high-income tourists.
Najib said the government also plans to increase the number of direct flights to Langkawi as an added measure to draw in more tourists to the island.
He said there is currently only one direct international flight, from Guangzhou, China, and that more direct flights would put Langkawi on the world tourism map.
According to him, the opening of the The St Regis Langkawi also symbolises the successful cooperation between the government and private sector and the close relation between the Malaysian and Indonesian governments.
“The result, this hotel was completed in 19 months. This is a record in terms of government and private-sector cooperation, which enabled the successful completion of project of international standard and on budget,” he said.
The St Regis Langkawi is a joint venture between Malaysia’s finance ministry through the Ministry of Finance Inc and Rajawali Group, an Indonesian conglomerate.
Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, Rajawali Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Peter Sandakh accompanied the prime minister during the visit.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on May 30, 2016. Subscribe to The Edge Financial Daily here.