Sky bridge closure has not affected Langkawi tourim: Minister

KUALA LUMPUR - Pulau Langkawi has not experienced a drop in tourism despite the closure of its world-famous Langkawi Sky Bridge.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said tourists are still able to enjoy the view as the cable car, also known as the Sky Cab, is still in operation.

"Last year I was told the company (Panorama Langkawi Sdn Bhd) made a profit and was able to give dividends to the state government, so there is no drop (in tourists)," said Nazri in a press conference after launching the Kelantan Red Warriors football team's new jersey for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup Sunday.

Nazri said the safety of the tourists visiting the bridge - dubbed as the world's scariest suspension bridge, which hangs 700m above sea-level - was the priority.

"Can you imagine the impact if we allow the bridge to be used? If anything happens, that will cause a negative (impact) on Malaysian tourism.

"The Ministry was informed by the engineers that it was too risky. We had a choice of keeping the bridge open and risking the lives of tourists or closing it. I rather we closed it," he said.

The Star reported the Sky Bridge has been closed for almost 20 months due to a delay in getting funds and foreign consultants to conduct maintenance work.

The bridge, part of an RM80mil cable car project, is only due to re-open late this year. It has been closed since July 2012.

The closure of the Sky Bridge, which had been attracting an average of 400,000 visitors a year, has caused frustration among foreign tourists who had travelled far to see and experience "an engineering marvel."

It was reported that work for the iconic bride will be divided into two phases, the first phase being the rectification of the bridge's main structures while the second phase will be spent to build an inclinator to bring visitors up to the Sky Bridge.