A BRITISH news portal has listed George Town as number eight in its Top 40 destination roundup.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng stressed that even though George Town was listed by the news portal, that didn’t mean that it had reached the same level of popularity as Bali, Indonesia.
“The listing shows that we are making progress. No other city in South-East Asia was chosen,” said Lim.
“We are proud that Penang is back on the tourism map, and we have to work harder.”
He was speaking after the recent swearing-in of Penang municipal councillors in Town Hall at the Esplanade.
On Jan 3, theguardian.com put George Town on its list of Top 40 destinations.
Other destinations listed included Cape Town in South Africa, Uzes in France, Austin in Texas, Kolkata in India and Alberta in Canada.
Lim said the listing was very appropriate with the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014.
“In order to reach the level of Bali, we need to invest in tourism infrastructure.
“That is why the hotel levy will be implemented starting June 1 this year to help build up tourism infrastructure.
“I have discussed the matter with the hoteliers and we have told them that even if they are not happy, they must accept the decision,” Lim said.
A RM2 levy will be charged for each room per night for hotels up to three stars while four-star and five-star hotels will be charged a RM3 levy per night.
On another matter, state Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said not all nominations for councillors would be accepted as a whole.
“The party branches, the parliament liaison committee and the state can nominate who they want,” he said.
“Ultimately, the state selection committee has the final say,” Chow added.
He was commenting on allegations that newly appointed councillors Mohd Hariszuan Jaharudin, 27, and Tan Hooi Peng, 24, both from DAP, were not nominated by the PLC, but were appointed by the party.
There are only two women councillors — Tan Hooi Ping, 24, and Nur Zarina Zakaria, 33, — out of the total 24 councillors.