Langkawians Guide Malaysians to the Stars
Langkawi Island is Malaysia’s top tourist attraction but it was hit hard by the pandemic crisis. Even though the sector is recovering, many tourist guides are still struggling with financial stress. During the pandemic, they are not able to renew their tour guide badges due to money shortage while during post-pandemic, there are not sufficient bookings from the locals or foreigners that require their services.
Regardless, Langkawi is situated in the Northernmost part of Peninsular Malaysia next to Thailand. It is within Bortle Scale 3-4. Other dark sky areas within the same scale that are within reach are Perlis, Kubang Pasu, Padang Terap, Sik and Baling. In terms of availability and accessibility, these places also are relatively ideal for astro-tourism. To note, Bortle Dark-Sky Scale is a nine-level numeric scale that measures the night sky’s brightness ranges from Class 1, the darkest through Class 9, for inner-city skies.
We plan to conduct a 10-day basic to moderate level astronomy short course (series of physical and online training classes) to 20-most financially affected Langkawi-Perlis-Kedah mainland tour guides who are registered with local tourist guide associations.
Our aims are:
i) to expose and later train the tour guides with knowledge in astronomy and navigation;
ii) to equip them with extra skills on mobile entrepreneurship and astro-tour hospitality and service; and
iii) to revamp the tourism sector in the Northern region with a new niche in astronomy tourism.
This project will make use of the national astronomical and state forestry facilities as a training hub, with support from Tourism Malaysia, Langkawi Development Authority (LADA), National Corridor Economic Region Implementation Authority (NCIA), state parks and local tourism agencies.