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Langkawi Nature ....

Georgetown, Penang
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Langkawi Nature ....

nst.com.my/Current_News/…index_html

This article from the New Straits Times may be of interest to those arriving on Langkawi whose expectations are more than a beach holiday. Some very good points made here.

Amsterdam
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21. Re: Langkawi Nature ....

Carhirer,

I can’t really understand the whole of your post….

Culture clash?, yes… but whether or not it is culturally acceptable to dump rubbish on beaches, tourists generally don’t like it, and will vote with their feet and venture to cleaner shores. Dog $hit on the sidewalks used to be the norm in Amsterdam… then the city council was forced to clean up its act and start fining & taxing the dog owners, and start employing clean up crews, because tourists were listing it as their top gripe when they visited the city. What I mean is, it basically doesn’t matter if Amsterdammers mind dog $hit or not, or if we find it culturally acceptable or not, tourists do mind it – they hate it - and if we wanted them to coming (which we did, because they bring in money) we had to address the problem that was keeping them away or stopping them returning. And just for the record, it’s worked pretty well too. Sidewalks are now maybe not totally dog pooh free, but much better than a decade or two ago.

I’m not remotely interested in “artificially pristine beaches”, if I was I hardly think Penang would be my favourite S.E. Asian destination… I hate imported sand and landscaped beaches with rocks with no sharp corners and sea shelves filled in to make wading toddler-friendly … but I do like clean beaches (more or less) free of plastic bottles, broken glass and the remains of yesterdays picnic for a family of 20. A beach can be clean and beautiful without being manmade and artificial. (Perhenthians for example, or the Gilis)

How can you compare an environmental tax to a rip off? A tax is generally applied across the board and the proceeds go to the government or relevant authorities and is (generally) put to good use.

A rip off (generally) goes in the back pocket of the taxi driver, restaurant owner or shop owner, and isn’t always applied across the board. i.e. I only rip purple and green people off but don’t rip off the red and orange people.

A whole group or area or sector will benefit from a tax, one individual will benefit from a rip off. It’s like comparing giving money to a homeless street beggar or giving the same amount of money to a registered charity for the homeless.

Two completely different things.

You lost me completely on this bit “And who sells these guys the discarded food packaging? Probably people living in Singapore or tourists from the West”

???? maybe I’m missing your point, but does it really matter where my coke can comes from, or does it just matter that I threw it out the window of my car. I’m sure if coke was never imported into Holland I’d still be throwing my Heineken beer can and my Gouda cheese sandwich out my car window.

The Tanjung Rhu is good!!! very good…. value for money? I dunno, everyone’s idea of vfm is so different. And again you lost me on the tax free status of Langkawi… but I’ve had that for a while. Why do I have to pay government tax in hotels if it’s a tax free island?

Amsterdam
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22. Re: Langkawi Nature ....

I have one idea that might be a small step to cleaning up beaches and public places (and it’s dead easy to emplement)… a deposit on plastic bottles used for water etc and on soft drink cans etc. I was in Dusseldorf and Cologne last week, and you now pay a deposit on your water/soft drinks packaging. I paid 2 euros for a small 500ml plastic bottle of sports drink and an extra 20 cents deposit. I saw school kids gathering discarded bottles to take them back to the shops for the deposits.

Same thing worked wonders here with the supermarket trolleys… my street used to be littered with the things… now that you need to put a 1 euro coin in them as deposit, if people are too lazy to return them to the shops, the local kids or homeless will do it for you. problem solved.

And the good thing is… it works across the board… fair to all.

Surrey UK
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23. Re: Langkawi Nature ....

Good idea about the deposit on bottles. I expect those who buy and then dump will not be influenced by the deposit but there would be an incentive for kids to gather them up.

I agree that dog poo is dog poo, wherever you are. But if the locals wanted to live in a rubbish-free environment they would clean it up. They could equally ask us why we in the West allow our kids to be bombarded with porn and vicious computer games. And Amsterdam is not exactly known for its vitamin cafes :-) We all have our own forms of filth to live with. But enough of this philosophising!

A natural beach is one covered in rotting seaweed and flotsam & jetsam swept onshore by the currents. The sort of clean beaches we expect in "paradise" is unnatural and have to be cleaned every day. If we want to visit a rubbish-free environment we should pay to clean it up. My point about tax and hotel prices is that we do pay high prices for Langkawi hotels. KL hotel prices are comparable with Bangkok's but Langkawi's prices are way above Phuket's or Koh Samui's. I even paid less in the Seychelles and Maldives. The hotels could easily clean up the island out of the profits they are making. One way to achieve this is via a tourist tax collected from the hotels. Admittedly they could simply pass the cost on to the tourist but if they are charging high prices simply because they think that is what the market will bear then they will hit a limit.

Georgetown, Penang
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24. Re: Langkawi Nature ....

Could not agree with you more M2006, well said. 2 euro's here is a bit high, thats the cost of dinner in many places.

Georgetown, Penang
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25. Re: Langkawi Nature ....

As you know. What a laugh ! a whole meal for the price of a loaf.

Detroit
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26. Re: Langkawi Nature ....

You can see people collecting coke/beer cans so why not plastic bottles. Great idea, could help them preserve the island in the long run.

London, UK
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27. Re: Langkawi Nature ....

Carhirer, coming from North America or Europe, I can visit a natural beach in Bermuda where the sand really is pink and the water really is turquoise, it's not artificial, there is no dumping, and no one has to clean up much litter, so I don't have to pay them to do so. Furthermore, it's a maximum 7 hour flight vs. the 11 hour flight to Malaysia. While I haven't been there, I'm sure you get equally good beaches in Australia, the South Pacific, and much of the Caribbean.

Malaysia is a lot cheaper than Bermuda, except when you start comparing top-end. Another favourite topic of yours, The Datai in Langkawi, while the best hotel we have ever stayed in bar none, could be considered over-priced when calculating their cheaper local costs. It really doesn't matter. If people think it's over-priced, they don't have to go there. I don't mind paying it. My point: if I compare the Datai with a top-end hotel in Bermuda, the price is the same. If I compare other high-end hotels in Langkawi or Penang, the prices are similar to many islands in the Caribbean.

So for those people who want a beach holiday, or even those who would like to spend just some time on the beach while on holiday, Malaysia tourism loses out on these visitors, because as pointed out on many other threads at TA, Malaysia beaches are dirty. Even in Kota Kinabalu the water is a bit murky. The sad fact is that Malaysia advertises the beaches in their tourist posters and people are aware that Malaysia is in a southern warm climate, so they are all psyched up for some beaching, only to be sadly disappointed when they arrive.

There are many other reasons to visit Malaysia; I still go frequently despite my general liking of beaches. However, if someone wants a beach in their holiday plans, as most people from northern climates do, why go to Malaysia over the other destinations mentioned? Yes, the tourists want clean beaches, but why should they pay Malaysia for that when they can go somewhere else? Malaysia tourism can overcome that tourist deficiency by starting to clean up the beaches and the land in general. If they don't, there will be no tourists left to tax with your idea.

Amsterdam
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28. Re: Langkawi Nature ....

Carhirer,

Surface Travel has already said much of what I would have said.

Natural beaches are absolutely not per definition covered in rotting seaweed and flotsam & jetsam. Sure, many may be, but I know from experience that not all of them are. And I’m not talking the “uninhabited” island that’s a 15 minute boat ride from the popular tourists resorts either. I’m talking about really remote islands that are hardly ever accessed by people at all, and all I saw was pristine beauty. Sure, there may have been a fallen palm tree or some drift wood or sea weed on the tide line, but that *is* natural beauty, and they were still pristine. It’s coke cans, evian bottles, used pampers and plastic bags that are eye sores (as well as dangers and pollutants). I was never advocating that they sifted the sand to remove the leaves. Just clean up the litter, and water pollutants

As for the Dutch dog poo or the Langkawi litter, it doesn’t really matter what the locals want, IF the tourist dollar takes precedence. Amsterdam wanted tourists to return, so they either had to clean up their dog mess or accept that many of the tourists would go elsewhere. Same with Langkawi. The locals can’t have their cake and eat it. If they want tourists to come (and return) they simply will have to clean up their act to do so. There’s too much competition, even in SE Asia.

The western kids bombarded with porn and computer games is a poor analogy in this particular post… the tourists to the west aren’t affected by what tv our kids watch or what computer games they play. Tourists to Amsterdam *are* affected by dog $hit. I’m not affected by what the Malaysian kids watch on tv or what computer games they play but I am affected by the litter everywhere.

I somehow get the idea that you think we are trying to “westernize the world” if we say we want litter free beaches and country side with no illeaqgl dump sites when we go on holiday? If that’s the case, you could be right. But don’t forget Malaysia want’s the tourist dollar. It is always a two way street with tourism. And it is still a buyers market. If Malaysia won’t provide the clean beaches then Cambodia or Vietnam (or wherever) will.

I get you now on the hotel price thing… and totally agree with you. It’s one of the reasons I spend (proportionately) less time in Langkawi… I think the hotel prices are hideously expensive for anything more than a few days.

I want to debate this next bit with you… but before I do I wonder just how well you know places like Langkawi or Penang? I admit I am far from an expert on Langkawi, but I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Penang (and KL). In my experience, the VAST majority of rubbish dumping and littering is the sole responsibility of the locals.

<<If we want to visit a rubbish-free environment we should pay to clean it up>>

Why should we tourists pay for cleaning up a mess that is created by the local population? Amsterdam’s poo-problem was cleaned up basically by increasing the dog license tax, so dog owners bore the brunt, the remainder was paid for by the city dwellers in general through their council taxes.

What you seem to be saying is: because it was the tourists that were the catalyst of the clean-up operation, then they should pay for it, even though tourists generally don’t take their dogs with them on holiday?

That’s insane! Tourists numbers would have declined (nose dived!) instead of increased, and that’s the same in Malaysia. Malaysia is already (I won’t say overpriced, but???) expensive when compared to neighbouring countries… to tax the tourist even more would definitely keep them away, certainly when you’re taxing them for the locals’ mess.

Georgetown, Penang
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29. Re: Langkawi Nature ....

Guy's,

Tourists already pay for all these things through the two tier pricing system ...... that includes hotels, attractions and of course the taxi's there.

Georgetown, Penang
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30. Re: Langkawi Nature ....

Invalid Response,

Thought this article might interest you. I am sure, as a botanist/coastal engineer your opinions would be appreciated.

Hows the boat, I mean base coming along ?

thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp…

Thanks for your contributions. We don't have many from specialists in this field posting on the forum.