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 This Content Available in English  LANGKAWI, Dec 5 (Bernama) -- Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) enters a new era of leadership through the appointment of Datuk Azizan Noordin as its chief executive officer effective Dec 1. The former deputy director-general (Promotion) of Tourism Promotion Board (Tourism Malaysia) succeeded Tan Sri Khalid Ramli, who called it a day on Nov 30 after five years at the helm of LADA.
Having been in the tourism line for nearly four decades, he considers Langkawi as one of his usual ports of call in building up his career since 1978. "In fact, just a few months after joining Tourism Malaysia (then known as Tourists Development Corporation or TDC), I was transferred to Penang and occasionally travelled to Langkawi. That was how my 'love story' with Langkawi started," he said recently. Azizan said back in the late 70s, Langkawi Airport was like a mere taxi stand at a nearby country club serving as its terminal and air traffic control. "There was only one small aircraft, a Norman Islander, coming to Langkawi back then," he said, recalling his tasks then were mostly to facilitate television and movie crews to carry out filming in the island. After 38 years, a lot of changes had taken place, he noted, "And I know there will be more changes to come". The role of LADA in charting the development of Langkawi had been undeniable, he said, and when Khalid took over as the CEO, the island had further transformed. "Now it is my turn to take over and we will continue to improve to the next platform," he said. Azizan said Khalid had been the important figure behind the formulation of the first Langkawi Tourism Development Blueprint, a master plan that stretched between 2011 and 2015. He said all the targets outlined in the blueprint had been surpassed, which led Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to call for another blueprint for 2016-2020. "The legacy left by Tan Sri (Khalid) will be a benchmark for the steps we would take to bring new achievements," Azizan said. To start with, he said, he would tap the potentials of bringing in more tourists to Langkawi through joint collaborations between Tourism Malaysia and several leading global airlines. "These collaborations are with Etihad, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines. We will try to get more tourists from Europe, the United States, Australia and New Zealand through these collaborations," he said. Apart from scheduled flights, Azizan said tourism inflow to Langkawi would also be intensified through promotions of chartered flights. He said digital and social media would be utilised more to promote the island in order to expand the reach to a greater pool of tourists within a shorter period of time. "This media platform had not been exploited much and we are ready to pursue further to use it as a way to promote Langkawi," he said. He said Langkawi could expand further from its billing as a renowned ecotourism destination to an established place for international meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE). "It already has a number of five and six-star rated hotels to accommodate the organisation of large scale meetings or seminars," he added. --BERNAMA
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