Langkawi lawmaker fears reports of Phuket-style damage will spook tourists Langkawi MP Abu Bakar Taib is a worried man. It's not because his constituency, one of Malaysia's premier tourist destinations, lost many people to the tsunami - it didn't. He is not worried that the island's tourism infrastructure was damaged, because it was not. Mr Bakar is worried that potential visitors will cancel their holidays. 'It's very bad,' Mr Bakar said as he oversaw a work crew cleaning up the village of Kuala Teriang, the hardest hit village on the island. 'If you watch CNN or the other news channels, they all say 'Phuket, Aceh, Langkawi' together. It is a problem. We are afraid [tourists] may not get the right picture.' The picture Mr Bakar wants people to get is of the Langkawi Lagoon Resort, a high-end leisure and conference development scheduled to host the Asean Tourism Forum later this month. The resort, protected by an artificial breakwater, suffered no damage, and actually experienced a slight increase in tourist numbers after the tsunami as travellers relocated there from other resorts and destinations. The lagoon and another resort at the other end of town are among Kuala Teriang's largest employers, and have become even more important since most of its fishing fleet - the village's other income earner - was wrecked by the tsunami. It is a similar story on the island of Penang, where 52 people died. Teng Chang Yeow, chairman of the Penang Tourism Action Council and state councillor for regional development, said that as terrible as the tsunami had been, it did provide an opportunity for Malaysia, and Penang in particular, to snare a greater share of the market. 'We must be able to grab a share of that market as soon as possible,' Mr Teng said. 'Of course we do face a publicity issue in that the media has portrayed us to have been hit like Phuket. 'But that is the wrong perception.' British couple Erica and David Bayliss had been due to stay at the Amari Coral Reef resort on Phuket's Patong Beach. They heard about the disaster when they landed in Singapore on Boxing Day. 'We called our travel agent in the UK and they made it abundantly clear that Phuket was basically closed and that they would sort an alternative destination out for us,' said Mr Bayliss, 63. Describing their new holiday spot, Mr Bayliss said: 'We've got nothing but praise for the place.' Russell Loughland, director of sales and marketing for Shangri-La Hotels' two resorts on Batu Ferringhi Beach in Penang, said occupancy rates along the beach had taken a big hit from the tsunami. 'The implications for this island are huge.' 'Everything is linked. If the perception of where we are is the same as the reality of those other places that were hit, then the island, and the people who have lost family will take a lot longer to recover.' The local tourism industry had just got back on its feet after Sars and it was imperative the tsunami not have a similarly long-lasting effect. 'There are fundamental differences between Sars and this,' Mr Loughland said. 'Sars was a disease, it was transmittable and we did not know how long it was going to be around for; this was a natural disaster - it was big, but it is gone and [here] it is over.'