THE business events industry in Penang is heading towards breaking the RM1.5bil mark in estimated economic impact (EEI) this year.
Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) chief executive officer Ashwin Gunasekeran said the bureau was targeting an EEI of RM1.6bil for 2019.
“We are also looking at a marginal 30% increase in the number of events this year. We managed to hit RM1.313bil in EEI from 2,733 events last year.
“The first industry review was released in 2016 and over three years, the EEI for Business Events in Penang has grown by 62% from RM808.3mil in 2016 to RM1.313bil.
“The analysis and study by PCEB revealed that one of the most significant growths experienced in the three years is the number of hotel room bookings which has grown by 285%,” he told a press conference after the launching of the Business Events Penang 2018 Annual Review at E&O Hotel in George Town recently.
Ashwin said Penang hosted 1,251 events in 2016 and the following year, it increased to 2,511 with the EEI breaking the RM1bil mark for the first time.
“The World Congress on Information Technology 2020 (WCIT2020) scheduled to be held in Penang next year will also help boost the figures further.
“WCIT is a key example of an international association meeting that Penang is targeting. WCIT2020 can easily attract about 4,000 delegates to the state and this will boost the local industries,” he said.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow congratulated PCEB for their achievements.
“The service sector contributes 49% to the state’s Gross Domestic Product and 59% in terms of creating job opportunities.
“The key component of the service sector in Penang is tourism. Tourism in Penang has been experiencing steady growth over the past few years.
“The business events sector in Penang is growing. It has displayed tremendous potential and there is room for it to grow to be a key player and substantial contributor to the economy,” he said.
State Tourism Development, Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said growth in the business events sector would positively impact the economic growth in Penang, which would also propel community development.
“PCEB was set up as the state’s arm to develop the business tourism sector and work together with different levels of government and business events stakeholders.
“In 2018, PCEB penetrated two new and vital markets for business events — India and the United Kingdom.
“My office is fully committed to ensuring the success of the business events in Penang,” he said.
Also present at the annual review were Ministry of Tourism and Culture Penang director Jonathan Freddy Bagang and Malaysian Association of Hotels Penang chairman Khoo Boo Lim.
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