Public participation shortcomings in tourism planning: the case of the Langkawi Islands, Malaysia

Azizan Marzuki, Iain Hay, Jane James

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    59 Citations (Scopus)


    Public participation in decision-making processes is regarded as important for successful tourism planning. This paper presents the findings of a study examining the public participation approach to tourism planning in the Langkawi Islands, Malaysia. The study was conducted between 2004 and 2008 to assess public participation during the preparation of the Langkawi Structure Plan 1990-2005 and the Langkawi Local Plan 2001-2015. Interviews were conducted with local stakeholders in the tourism industry and analysed using a "framework technique". The results indicate that there were limitations in public participation in the tourism planning process due to (1) inadequate information, (2) an ineffective approach, (3) residents' attitudes and (4) exclusion from participation processes. Public participation also occurred only at an early stage due to structural and operational limitations in the planning process. This included weaknesses in the Town Planning Act (Act 172), as under the Malaysian Planning System, all participation processes for Structure Plans and Local Plans in the country need to follow the participation approach suggested by the Act. The paper suggests that improvements can be made in tourism public participation processes in the Langkawi Islands and in their relationships with the Malaysian Planning System.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)585-602
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - May 2012


    • decision-making
    • Langkawi
    • Malaysia
    • public participation
    • tourism planning


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