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 nor foreigners that require their services.

Regardless, Langkawi is situated in the Northernmost part of Peninsular Malaysia. Other ‘dark sky areas’ within 3-4 Bortle scale that are still within reach are Perlis, Kubang Pasu, Padang Terap, Sik and Baling. The ideal condition of these areas in term of availability and accessibility making it a plus point 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 10-day of basic to moderate level astronomy short course to 20-most financially affected Langkawi tour guides who are registered with Langkawi Tourist Guide Association (LTGA). 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 new niche on astronomy tourism.

This project will make use of the national astronomical facility – Langkawi National Observatory under the governance of Malaysian Space Agency (MySA) as a training hub, with support from Tourism Malaysia, Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) and National Corridor Economic Region Implementation Authority (NCIA).