LANGKAWI is all geared up to welcome Qatar Airways, which will begin flights from the Hamad International Airport in Doha to the island from Oct 15.
Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said at a press conference in August that the flights to Langkawi International Airport would bring more opportunities to the local tourism industry and the state.
It is understood that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Qatar Airways group chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker, resort operators in Langkawi and other delegates will be on board Flight QR866 from Doha which will arrive at Langkawi International Airport at 5.05pm via Penang.
The return flight QR867 will depart Langkawi at 7pm, arriving into Penang at 7.40pm and then fly to Doha and other destinations.
On its website, the airline states that from Langkawi it will connect global travellers to more than 160 places around the world via Hamad International Airport.
Resort operators all geared up
Qatar Airways’ operations into Langkawi could be a factor that draw more property developers to the island.
Langkawi has seen a dramatic increase in new development, particularly in Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah areas.
New developers have entered the market while existing resorts are investing in refurbishment to welcome new guests.
In April, Tropicana Corp Bhd inked two joint development agreements (JDAs), the first with Pantai Kok Resort Development Sdn Bhd to develop 18.05ha in Padang Mat Sirat, Langkawi.
The project will be developed over 15 years, with an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM3.02 billion.
The second JDA is with Sinaran Ramah Sdn Bhd to develop 1ha site in Mukim Kedawang over seven years, with an estimated GDV of RM308.3 million.
The Holiday Villa Group, meanwhile, is all ready to welcome flights from Qatar Airways to Langkawi International Airport.
The group operates hotels and resorts in 12 destinations,including Malaysia, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Cambodia and China. It offers a more than 6,000 rooms at city hotels, beach resorts and pool villas.
Holiday Villa Group co-founder Puan Sri Mavis Masri told NST Property that the group’s properties, such as Holiday Villa Beach Resort and Spa Langkawi and Holiday Villa Hotel and Residence City Centre Doha, will greatly benefit when Qatar Airways flies to Langkawi.
Mavis said the 258-room Holiday Villa Langkawi, which opened in 1992, has the best beach in the island and is strategically located within close proximity to restaurants and retail shops.
The resort is sprawled over 5.26ha, fronting one of the island’s finest beaches, Pantai Tengah.
She said the resort is suitable for the family market and boasts more than 30 suites.
“It is well established in the international tourist market. We have four swimming pools for holiday makers. This includes a ladies-only pool. We also have an award-winning spa featuring two private rooms with their own swimming pools, and the lavilla pool club catering to the discerning guests who want privacy and a quiet ambience facing the sea.”
Holiday Villa Hotel and Residence City Centre Doha is one of the biggest hospitality complexes within reach from the Hamad International Airport, The Corniche, Qatar National Convention Centre, Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, Aspire Zone, Katara Cultural Village, Souq Waqif, and other famous landmarks and shopping malls.
With more than 1500 rooms, it features 396 hotel apartments of two- and three-bedrooms complete with kitchen and living room.
The hotel block consists of 356 corporate suites and guestrooms catering to business and leisure travellers.
This year saw the opening of the second project called the D-Villa hotel apartment in Doha.
“Next year we hope to open the Holiday Villa Convention Centre, which will also house co-working office space and a rooftop restaurant featuring a variety of international cuisines.
“It is timely that Qatar Airways will fly to Langkawi. This augurs well for all our properties as we are targeting leisure travellers and the meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions (Mice) market. We have a lot of tourists coming in from the Middle East to Langkawi and vice versa. With flights via Penang, we expect visitor arrivals to increase at all our properties,” said Mavis.
Qatar Airways will use the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which is configured with its two-class cabin layout, offering 22 business seats and 232 economy seats.
Langkawi is Qatar Airways’ third destination in Malaysia after Penang and Kuala Lumpur. The airline launched flights to Kuala Lumpur in 2001 and added services to Penang last year.
Qatar and Malaysia have had strong relations since 40 years ago, with bilateral trade valued at about US$1.1 billion.
Qatar Airways’ Al Baker said at a press conference in August that the new route launch would no doubt increase that number as cargo and passengers are transported through its gateways.
“Langkawi is one of the most highly sought-after destinations in Malaysia and our flights will help increase accessibility and boost inbound tourism to this beautiful archipelago,” he said.