Penang puts in motion plans to boost the tourism sector

By TIN Media | Penang News Published 1 week ago on 14 September 2023
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The focus is on improving the infrastructure to support the burgeoning economy as PENANG's  tourism sector recovers from the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Federal Government has a proposal to upgrade and expand Penang International Airport (PIA), which will enable the airport to handle more than 12 million passengers a year.

The idea, according to Wong Hon Wai, head of the Penang Tourism and Creative Economy Committee, will help to get additional direct flights to Penang.

"To ensure that the infrastructure is in place, we must collaborate closely with government agencies.

In an interview with StarMetro, he stated, "We have ' reconnected' direct flights with many neighboring nations that were halted during the pandemic.

The RM1.2 billion airport expansion project was anticipated to start the next year, according to an earlier article.

The scope of work included building a new terminal and other passenger facilities. It is anticipated that the project will be finished in three to four years.

The cost of the PIA extension will be covered by Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB), according to Transport Minister Anthony Loke, who also stated that the project was urgently needed because in 2019 the airport was processing more than eight million passengers, above its present capacity of 6.5 million.

To attract more patients from abroad, Wong claimed that the government was collaborating with the medical tourism sector to host roadshows in Asian nations.

He claimed that more private hospitals had relocated to Penang and that a large number of travelers were attracted by conferences and conventions.

"Penang will continue to host international conferences and exhibitions as it has done in the past.

The Setia SPICE Convention Centre, the SP Arena, and the Penang International Convention Cultural and Arts Centre (PICCA) @ Butterworth Arena are three examples of contemporary, purpose-built convention centers.

"The Penang Waterfront Convention Centre will soon be ready for events, too," he added, noting that he had learned from his discussion with the Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau that they had events planned up until 2031.

Following the pandemic, the state's tourism business, according to Wong, saw a V-shaped rebound (rapid recovery after a dramatic decrease).

New money is being injected into this sector.

New hotels have opened, while some closed ones have reopened and others are renaming their

"Hotels are even being built in Ayer Itam, a region that is not typically known for tourists. On the recent National Day, all of the beach hotels were booked up.

Wong, who was recently sworn into his new position, stated that he is already meeting players in the tourist sector, such as hotels, travel companies, and medical facilities.

They have made a lot of suggestions for how to develop the local tourism business.

The number of industry participants visiting us to conduct business here has increased significantly.

Wong noted that Penang was fortunate to have two places on the Unesco list, the Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve and the George Town World Heritage Site.

"We need to showcase our vibrant mix of heritage, culture, food, and nature through fun events all year long."

The state would be concentrating more on the mainland, according to Wong, as its strategy had been too island-centric for too long.

"The mainland will have new ones to offer," he said. "The island has a mature market of well- known places to visit."

He also wanted to support the local arts community and the creative economy.


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