COOPERATION and creative marketing are key to reviving Penang’s tourism industry following the impact of Covid-19, said state tourism and creative economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin.
“Our economy has to be upheld while we tirelessly fight the pandemic.
“One vital sector is tourism which is a big contributor to the local gross domestic product.
“Since Malaysians are currently unable to travel overseas due to restrictions imposed, they are turning to domestic destinations.
“Penang has become one of the top tourist destinations within the country.
“I urge stakeholders in Penang like hotels and malls to work together and come up with creative programmes to capitalise on this and boost local tourism, ” he said.
Yeoh was addressing the crowd at the closing ceremony of Kompleks Bukit Jambul’s (KBJ) Cuti-Cuti Penang Shopper Rewards programme recently.
Running from early July till the end of August, the programme rewarded shoppers who spent above a certain amount.
Shoppers received entrance tickets to 11 Penang attractions as well as room and dining vouchers from five hotels.
Among the attractions on the list were Penang Hill, various museums and a farm.
KBJ joint management body chairman K.H. Chan said eligible shoppers were given a spin of a wheel to determine their rewards. In total, 732 exciting prizes were given out.
“We came up with this programme in response to the state government’s call to promote domestic tourism.
“We bought the tickets and vouchers from business owners to support them.
“In return, they sponsored us with additional items.
“All this also helped boost our merchants’ sales, ” Chan said, describing the shopper rewards programme as a mutually beneficial partnership.
Some shoppers were interviewed on camera when they redeemed their prizes and clips of their delighted responses were played during the closing ceremony.
Many of them remarked that they had never visited certain attractions on the list or were unaware of them prior to this, and were now looking forward to visiting the attractions.
This, Chan said, showed the value of cross-promotions.
Yeoh concurred and said, “This is a good strategy to generate retail spending while enticing people to visit Penang attractions.
“Such programmes benefit the state’s economy. My office looks forward to supporting more such initiatives.”
Also known as Petach, Yeoh’s office has been actively developing travel packages to spur domestic tourism in recent months, including the JOM! Experience Penang campaign.
It received over 77,000 website views and 13.3% returning visitors from the start of June until the end of August.
“Although the deals were only applicable to Malaysians residing in the country, our statistics showed that people from all over the world were interested, ” said Yeoh.
“They included people from the United States, Singapore, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, China, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.
“This proves that Penang still maintains its appeal as a preferred international travel destination.
“Other than illuminating Komtar with colours to indicate Penang’s Covid-19 status, my office also launched the Responsible Tourism initiative for operators and tourists.
“We were also the first state in Malaysia to introduce a Covid-19 safety accreditation for hotels, attractions and malls.
“As of Sept 3, we have received 50 applications of which 27 have been audited and accredited.”
Yeoh ended his speech on an optimistic note.
“By thinking and acting one step ahead, we have witnessed a revival in Penang’s tourism industry.
“Local hotel occupancy rates have shown an increment over the National Day weekend, with 90% at beach hotels, 60% at city hotels and between 40% and 45% for those on the mainland.”
Yeoh added that his office would announce more initiatives to spur domestic tourism later this year.
Also present for the closing ceremony of KBJ Cuti-Cuti Penang Shopper Rewards programme were Association of Tourism Attractions Penang chairman Ch’ng Huck Theng and representatives of event partners.
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