Resort operators at Pulau Redang welcome the Terengganu government's plans to limit the number of tourists to the island to 160,000 annually.
Pulau Redang Resort Operators Association president A.B. Lee said: "It's good for operators as the island won't be overcrowded. It is a good move."
He also shared the State government's concerns of limiting the number of tourists to Pulau Redang protect the environment there — especially the coral reef — from being damaged by too many divers.
Tourists generally visit the island about seven months a year and it is closed to the public during the monsoon season.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun said: "Whatever the State government wants to do, they must do their homework for the good of all."
He felt Pulau Redang can't take huge numbers of tourists any more.
"Serious assessment needs to be done to sustain tourism activities in Redang. Too many tourists jeopardise the island's beauty."
On tourist bookings, Mohd Khalid said: "Tourists will be able to better plan their trips and look forward to visiting Pulau Redang as an exclusive island retreat. The move will not affect MATTA members as tourists can opt to go to other Malaysian islands which are just as beautiful as Pulau Redang."
He also suggested the island's resort and chalet operators, ferry operators and local vendors to first meet with the State government and work out details.
Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said recently said the State government would no longer approve construction of chalet type accommodations on the island.
At present, Pulau Redang — deemed one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the world — has 30 hotels and chalets, including a five-star hotel boasting of 1,059 rooms.
Only hotels rated five-star and above would be allowed to be built and hotel rooms would eventually cost no less than US$500 (RM1,600) a night — aimed at turning the island into a high-end holiday destination. Current chalets, catering for backpackers, would have to be upgraded.
When such a proposal was made a few years back, it drew criticism from divers, tourists and tour operators — who wanted the island to be open to all.
Source : MalayMail
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