GEORGE TOWN: Langkawi will focus on sustainable development with the right balance between growth and conservation, newly appointed Langkawi Development Authority (Lada) CEO Dr Hezri Adnan said today.

“It is our hope to see Langkawi as an example for other townships to emulate in terms of green policies,“ he said after assuming the position left vacant for three months after the retirement of Datuk Azizan Nordin.

The Kedah-born academician was formerly the senior director (research) of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS).

He said tourism in Langkawi would be upgraded with sustainable practices to ensure the ecology and pristine conditions of the island were preserved.

“Sustainable development is our priority,” Azizan said, adding that the status of Langkawi as a Unesco geological park and its “Natural Langkawi” tag are part of the branding of the island resort.

Langkawi Malaysian Nature Society chairman Eric R. Sinnaya said the island needs new strategies to thrive in an age of climate change and the need to care for the environment.

“Like many other destinations, we need sustainable policies to ensure a balanced development to meet the needs of conserving nature and promoting commercialism,“ he said.

Tourism industry veteran Ahmad Pishol Isahak said the industry needs a new approach as the field has become crowded with many hotel properties, travel agents and online service providers such as Grab and Airbnb.

“Everybody wants a slice of a pie which has become smaller as tourism is competitive globally. We need to go back to the basics when it comes to tourism – our friendly Malaysian hospitality,” he added.