Penang welcomes the first Familiarization trip from Singapore with media and travel agents via VTL

By TIN Media | Penang News Published 10 months ago on 29 March 2022
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Penang welcomes the first familiarization trip from Singapore after the launch of Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between Penang and Singapore under the effort of Tourism Malaysia, Singapore office today.

This trip saw the arrival of 15 guests inclusive of 6 members of the media, 4 travel agents, 1 representative from Tourism Malaysia, Singapore office, 2 representatives from Tourism Malaysia headquarter and 1 representative from Air Asia.

During the press conference held at The Prestige Hotel today, The Penang State EXCO for Tourism and Creative Economy (PETACE), YB Yeoh Soon Hin welcomed the entourage to Penang and expressed his gratitude towards Tourism Malaysia, Singapore office in their effort of connecting Singapore to Penang after the long hiatus from international flight since the announcement of Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia on March 2020.

“Covid-19 pandemic since 2020 has plunged the global economy into a severe contraction. The tourism sector is one the most drastically affected sector with the shutdown measures seen across countries to contain the swift and most shocking wave of the virus attack ever seen in this era. After a close 2- years pause, there is a need to gradually revive the industry and initiatives to generate economic activities need to be in place to ensure the substantivity of the tourism industry.”

Yeoh said, since the implementation of allowance to travel domestically for fellow Malaysian, there is a clear spike of tourists flooding into Penang for their piece of the long-desired vacation This shows that Penang remains one of the top destinations preferred by tourists. In addition, with the recent announcement of VTL for Penang and Singapore, Penang is now accessible for both Penangites and Singaporeans, where fully vaccinated travellers from these two destinations can move to and fro freely, without being required to undergo mandatory quarantine upon arrival.

On 16th March 2022, the inaugural VTL flight from Singapore brought in 60 passengers to Penang through the programme. The flight received a water cannon salute while passengers were given mementoes to mark the special occasion.

Yeoh continued to elaborate, “Penang is home to us Penangites yet it is also a destination filled with the known and unknown treasures to be discovered by its visitors. That is why Penang remains one of the top destinations for travellers throughout the years. Singapore contributes to this data as well as Singapore is the second-highest on arrival in Penang after Indonesia.

With the unique multi-ethnic community, Penang is truly irreplaceable in terms of its food, culture, heritage, arts and natural surroundings. Every one of these categories stands out among the rest, making Penang the ultimate destination that travellers would not want to miss. This is further highlighted in the multiple accreditations awarded to Penang by international platforms such as CNN listed Penang as “One of the best 22 Best Destinations to Visit in 2022”, The Times of India recognised Penang as “Amongst the Finest UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Asia” and Penang’s Assam Laksa named “The World’s 7th best dish” by CNN Travel.”

Penang is the first state in Peninsular Malaysia to own 2 UNESCO sites: the George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site and the newly recognized Penang Hill UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Yeoh encouraged visitors to take a stroll down the century-old Street of Harmony along Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling where four places of worship are a stone’s throw away from one another. While nature lovers can proceed to discover the beauty of nature in the Penang Hill UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The “7 Wonders of Penang” attractions that are equally attractive will cater to the different needs of travellers who opt for Penang.

Yeoh said that the unveiling of the state's remarkable hidden holiday gems on the island and Seberang Perai is in line with Penang's aspiration to become a premier, sustainable, and diversified tourism destination as outlined in the Penang Tourism Master Plan and Penang2030 vision. 

“Visitors are encouraged to explore the beauty of the untouched shores in “The Other Side of the Island, Teluk Bahang and Balik Pulau” and discover the variety of quality tourism products in “The Opposite Side of the Island, Seberang Perai”. These locations differ from the known parts of Penang, providing a passage for one to unveil the unseen charm of Penang.”

To assure safer travels for visitors while sustaining the state's efforts to revive Penang’s travel industry, Penang State EXCO for Tourism and Creative Economy (PETACE) launched the “Penang Responsible Tourism” campaign and the "COVID-19 Safety Accreditation Programme" to strengthen preventive measures undertaken by Penang's tourism industry players. These initiatives are the first of its kind in Malaysia, aimed to instil confidence in travellers when visiting Penang. The vaccination programme for trishaw peddlers and taxi drivers done during the 3rd quarter of 2021 allowed passengers to enjoy their portion of Penang with peace of mind.

The versatility of Penang to accommodate educational, medical and business demands is shown through the recently launched “StudyPenang” campaign that highlights Penang as a hub for world-class institutions of higher learning with affordable cost of living that often draws students from near or far to further their educational journey here. The medical tourism of Penang on the other hand provides a full range of top-notch medical services that are priced reasonably to those in need. The complete facilitated SPICE Arena is a venue designed to host international conferences and events on an annual basis that generates dynamic interaction for both participants and organizers.

Before ending his speech, Yeoh reminded participants to make full use of their time here and enjoy the itinerary. “Embrace Penang like no other and have fun with the latest activities and attractions Penang has to offer.”, along with the reminder to be vigilant and continue the fight against Covid-19.


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