If you’re a fan of off-the-beaten-path travel and the unspoiled beauty of nature, you’ll be thrilled to hear that the local government has made a rather good decision with regards to the future of Tioman Island in Pahang. The government has recently announced its decision to scrap the construction of the long-anticipated new Tioman Airport. This decision marks a significant departure from the initial plans that aimed to boost tourism, improve connectivity, and stimulate economic growth on the idyllic island.

A shift in priorities

The proposed new Tioman Airport project was poised to transform the island into a bustling tourist hub, attracting travellers from across the globe. However, Natural Resources, Environment, and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said this decision focuses on the preservation of Tioman’s unique ecological and cultural heritage as the building of the new Tioman airport would involve 76% reclamation of the sea area.

Environmental concerns

One of the primary reasons cited for abandoning the airport project is the potential environmental impact it could have on the island. Tioman is renowned for its pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and vibrant marine life.

The construction of an airport could have led to deforestation, disruption of wildlife habitats, and increased pollution. The government’s decision showcases a commitment to safeguarding these natural treasures for future generations.

Exploring alternatives

However, the decision to abandon the new Tioman Airport project does not signify the end of development opportunities for the island. The government now has the chance to explore alternative avenues for sustainable growth. This may involve investing in eco-tourism, promoting cultural exchanges, and enhancing the island’s existing attractions.

According to the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for the airport, there was also a proposal to locate the new Tioman International Airport on the west coast of the island between Kampung Paya and Kampung Genting, separated by a low hillock or headland.

Tioman’s existing airport, tucked away amidst the tropical greenery, will continue to handle flights, but its limited capacity ensures that the island won’t be overrun by hordes of tourists.