The Penang International Travel Exchange (PITE) 2022 returned for the fifth consecutive year (in physical mode this time) at the SETIA Spice Convention Centre in Bayan Lepas after being held virtually for the past two years.
An event curated by Penang Convention & Exhibition Centre (PCEB), PITE 2022 drew 80 buyers from 14 countries, including the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Germany, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom, Turkey and Malaysia.
State Tourism and Creative Economy Committee (PETACE) chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, who was among the dignitaries to launch the event, said PETACE would continue to do its part and strive towards making the travel industry the foundation of the state’s economy.
“This is also intended to increase employment opportunities, attract new investments, foster new and current talent and strengthen the local community.
“Our industry mindset has to adapt, change and cannot afford to get stuck in pre-pandemic days. Changes, innovations, new preferences, and evolving tourist behaviours are everywhere in the ever-growing tourism industry.
“This is why Penang always goes above and beyond to ensure all events run smoothly and your delegates enjoy the Seven Wonders of Penang.
“We guarantee that Penang will always be best presented to you through a variety of worthwhile experiences which is another reason for travellers to stay longer to enjoy our famous Penang hospitality.
“One of the goals listed in the Penang Tourism Master Plan is to develop Penang into a Smart City destination combining traditional tourism with digital tourism by utilising technology and innovation. But of course, virtual experiences are just a fun tool and not the core experience of Penang,” Yeoh said in his speech.
Yeoh also said Penang is also taking pains to ensure tourism is sustainable by incorporating the idea of Responsible Tourism into the travel and tourism sector post-pandemic.
Penang, he said, is always striving to restore travellers’ confidence to visit the state and ensure that it remains a top destination for people from all over the world.
Yeoh later witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between PCEB and the Network of Indian Mice Agents (NIMA) to further expand business events for both parties. PCEB was represented by Ashwin while NIMA was represented by its national coordinator Jagdeep Bhagat
“Together with PCEB, the state government never stops to market Penang as a preferred destination to host world-class business events.
“We continue to roll out and emphasise necessary strategies and initiatives to enhance and strengthen Penang’s business tourism and event tourism,” Yeoh commented.
PCEB chief executive officer Ashwin Gunasekeran said when Malaysia opened its borders in April, he thought tourist arrivals would be staggered but it turned out to be like the opening of floodgates.
“PITE 2022 is a strong message that Penang is safe, ready and moving progressively to rejuvenate and reactivate the business events industry. We’re looking forward to expanding this tradeshow and positioning it as a globally recognised trade event.
“We want to grow PITE bigger. We will double the number of participants next year,” Ashwin said.
On the MoU, Ashwin said they want to boost business ties with India.
“PCEB is regularly taking the initiative to attract business event groups to visit Penang. Connecting with the Indian market is one of the efforts being done. It is a significant market,” Ashwin added.
Jagdeep said NIMA appreciated the sincere effort of the state government and PCEB to form the partnership.
“We are confident of generating a good number of tourists for Penang. We will do our best to make Penang the most desired destination,” Jagdeep said.
PITE 2022, which ends on Nov 17, is featuring business-to-business (B2B) sessions and networking events. Additionally, familiarisation trips will be organised to provide buyers with a better understanding of Penang’s attractions and products.
Leng Rotana, a participant from Cambodia, said he was glad to be in Penang for the first time although he had visited Kuala Lumpur on several occasions.
“I love the food here. I had a very special curry dish at the hotel last night. I am going to try the durian tomorrow,” said Rotana, the co-founder and director of business development of Sophiya Corporation in Phnom Penh.
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