Penang leverages international recognition to attract tourists

Penang leverages international recognition to attract tourists

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang state government is seizing every opportunity, including international recognition, to attract more tourists, especially foreign visitors, to the state.

Wong Hon Wai, Chairman of the State Tourism and Creative Economy Committee (PETACE), made this remark in response to a report by the leading retailer in the United Kingdom, Post Office, which ranked Penang as the 11th cheapest tourist destination worldwide. The announcement was part of the 2024 Holiday Money Report, which also named Penang as the fourth-best destination in Asia.

Commenting further on the report, he said they are enhancing existing tourism products as new attractions, highlighting the natural beauty, delicious food, and unique cultural heritage and arts. “We are introducing various tourism themes and packages, such as weddings, conferences, medical exhibitions, cruise ships, and cultural heritage, to provide diverse tourist experiences,” he told Bernama today.

Expanding on this, Hon Wai said the current exchange rate of the Malaysian Ringgit against foreign currencies is very favorable, offering foreign tourists the chance to enjoy a variety of culinary experiences and entertainment at reasonable prices in Penang. He noted that Penang’s tourism products are known for being good quality, allowing tourists to enjoy luxury accommodation at reasonable costs.

“In addition, efforts to improve infrastructure such as proposed construction projects like the Light Rail Transit (LRT), expansion of the Penang International Airport (LTAPP), cable car project in Penang Hill, new hotels, upgrades and modernization of existing hotels, and other initiatives have been carried out excellently. Every stakeholder and all segments of society are working together to advance the tourism industry in Penang,” he said.

According to Hon Wai, over the past six months, he has visited several international airlines to introduce the advantages of Penang tourism to foreign tourists. He has also visited four major cities in India—Mumbai, Chennai, Kochi, and New Delhi—in an effort to pioneer the market there and hopes to achieve positive results from the visa-free policy by the end of this year, attracting more tourists from India to Penang.

“In fact, the implementation of a 30-day visa waiver between Malaysia and China has greatly boosted the tourism industry. However, the clear positive impact of the visa-free policy for India is still not evident,” he said.

He noted that the number of international cruise ships arriving in Penang has also increased. From January to February this year, there were 45 voyages involving 131,208 tourists compared to 31 voyages and 108,039 tourists during the same period last year.

“During the same period, the number of domestic and foreign tourists arriving at LTAPP increased to 577,329 people, or 26.93 percent from 454,839 people during the same period last year, and I am confident that the number of tourists will continue to increase,” he said.


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