By V. Sivaji
Tourism industry players in Perak are looking forward to the implementation of duty free status for Pangkor Island wef Jan 1, 2020 as it is expected to bring more tourists and spur economic development.
Ipoh Hyperlocal.com had the opportunity to speak to the Malaysian Association of Hotels (Perak Chapter) chairman, Maggie Ong and Perak Tourism Association (PTA) president Datuk Mohammad Odzman Abdul Kadir for their thoughts on the move.
Ong welcomes the move as it will increase the domestic market on arrivals will surge.
“It will definitely benefit the nearby district industry players such as transportation, local products, hotels, home stay and also food and beverage outlet.
“Also, it will create a platform to promote our beautiful beaches, experience local cultural and nature (Sun, Sand and Sea) to foreigners.
“As a hotelier, we hope that Tourism Perak, Travel agencies will come up with more packages to encourage visitors to stay more nights in Ipoh, Lumut and Pangkor,” said Ong.
She also called on the state tourism to mark its calendar and create more International event in Pangkor.
“To this regard, ample focus on advertisement & promotions for both domestic and international markets should be looked into,” added Ong.
Meanwhile, Perak Tourism Association (PTA) president, Datuk Mohammad Odzman Abdul Kadir, who is also a councilor of the Ipoh City Council supports the move to implement the duty free status in Pangkor.
“I am for duty free establishment or anything to enhance tourist we have to support since Pangkor has has been sidelined due to opening of other tourism products like Belum and Gua Tempurung.
“It is about time extra efforts be carried out to promote and market the island which has unpolluted beaches on the Peninsula West coast.
“The cleanliness must to retained and maintained even thought he tourism number go up.
“We have to maintain it. We don’t want it to turn dirty when there are a lot of tourists,” he said adding that visitors and tourists should not only come once.
“We have to make sure they have good reason to visit the island again; thus, the development in the island should complement the government’s latest initiative to boost the tourism there,” he added.
“To this end, the tourism products must also be upgraded, firstly accommodation or quality hotels on the island.
“There must also be activities for the tourists to carry out on the island like water activities like jungle tracking or bird watching trails;” he added.
He also recalled that one of the hotels there, the Pangkor Island Beach Resort, which closed on the reason of carrying out renovations, has never reopened till now.
Thus, he called on the relevant authorities to attract good hotel chains to open their outlets in Pangkor.
“We cannot afford to just leave hotels just like that as tourists are choosy in selecting hotels for their accommodation.
“To this end, the state government must engage to non governmental organisations to share ideas and viable suggestions to promote Pangkor for the benefit of all.
“The success will not only benefit the local communities and residents of Pangkor in terms of employment like tourists guides or souvenir outlets to improve their quality of life.
“The tourist guides should also be trained to be able to explain on the history and heritage of the island.
“I also would like to point out that the jetty areas is still like those days lacking facilities and amenities. It should be upgraded to give a good experience for travellers.
“The tourist guides should also be able to explain on the history and heritage of the island.
“But all is not lost as I have already seen several of the roads on the island has been upgraded and improved.
“Although I am glad that Pangkor will become duty free but do not want it to start and stop down the road. The local community first accept the new duty free status for a holistic approach and work towards the success.
“The collaboration of all concerned like NGOs, state, private, and corporate establishments can deliver on the bright future of Pangkor,” he added.
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