Penang to focus on business travel to boost tourism
State records 2,511 MICE events in 2018, alongside being known for street food, beachfronts
GEORGE TOWN – Penang plans to diversify its range of services and tourism attractions with an emphasis on the coming months for business travel to bolster the tourism sector as it recovers from lengthy economic effects of the pandemic.
While the state is renowned for its street food, beachfronts, and the World Heritage Site in George Town, the business travel segment is now seen as a key mover to rehabilitate the tourism, ruined by the Covid-19 pandemic in the past two years.
State executive councillor for tourism Yeoh Soon Hin sees growth in meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) as a strong contributor to tourism.
Instead of just relying on leisure tourists, Penang is going big in business tourism where MICE delegates enjoy the various services associated with business travel.
Yeoh also urged tourists to explore the attractions available on Balik Pulau and Seberang Perai, especially the street food there and eco-tourism activities such as hiking and forest trekking.
Yeoh said this when attending one of the outreach programmes for business travel organised by the Penang Convention Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) with the medical fraternity at the Cheah Kongsi building here recently.
PCEB chief executive officer Ashwin Gunasekeran said that Penang recorded 2,511 MICE events, generating RM1.31 billion in economic value to the state, in 2018.
Penang is also poised for a record-breaking year for MICE events, Ashwin said.
With the value of MICE in Penang expected to generate over RM1 billion in sales, it is not surprising that developer SP Setia Sdn Bhd has invested heavily in business travel.
Besides sprucing up the Setia Spice Convention Centre, the group has also invested in the Amari Setia Hotel, which has the largest number of rooms in Penang at 453 units.
It hosted some 200 guests recently to introduce new art pieces which will adorn its walls of the soon-to-be-opened Amari Spice Penang.
Dubbed the “Setia Karya” art pieces, they consist of beautifully crafted artworks depicting nature, portraits, and abstract art forms in a myriad of colours and styles.
The hotel’s general manager Noorazzuddin Omar said that the hotel is expected to open its doors formally to conventional guests next month with plans to admit free independent travellers from October.
Among those present were the Thai consul-general in Penang, Raschada Jiwalai, SP Setia Bhd deputy president and chief operating officer Datuk Koe Peng Kang, and its convention division head Francis Teo.
source – The Vibes