Impacts from Tourism Development in Langkawi Island, Malaysia

Impacts from Tourism Development in Langkawi Island, Malaysia

Azizan Marzuki (Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8268-9.ch002


Based on a study conducted in Langkawi Island, this chapter attempts to track the progress of tourism development of the island since 1986 until year 2004. Although the government and private sector had invested a lot of money in providing public infrastructure and facilities to boost the tourism industry in the island, no study had been conducted to relate tourism spending with the impact of these developments towards the local economy and socio-culture. Nevertheless, results from semi-structured interviews with local stakeholders involving hotel managers, government and non-government organizations representatives, resort and tourism developers and community leaders show two key issues regarding the benefits of tourism development and the costs of tourism development. The analysis also found that despite the limitation and development issues, the benefits of tourism development in Langkawi far outweighed the costs accrued to the local populace.
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Tourism Development In Langkawi

Before 1987, 67% of the employment in the Langkawi Islands was in the agriculture and fisheries sectors. About 40% of agriculture land was occupied by with rubber plantations, 30% was paddy field, another 20% was mixed crops and the remaining land was coconut plantations (Langkawi District Office, 1992). However, although the principal economic activity of the local population was agriculture, yields were low, especially those of paddy cultivation, because of the small size of cultivation area. Low yields were also caused by inadequate irrigation facilities and the use of traditional methods of farming, and the fact that small-scale agriculture was usually not for commercial farming. However, the declaration of a duty free island in 1987 not only advanced the development of the tourism industry, but also tremendously changed the socio-economic patterns in Langkawi. By the middle of the 1990s, the service sector became the main contributor to the island’s economy (Langkawi Municipal Council, 2002). About 32.3% of the working population were involved in the wholesaling and retailing sector, 21% in social services and only 17.3% were employed in the agriculture and fisheries sector (Langkawi Municipal Council, 2002).

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