Penang expecting 50,000 visitors

A gardener at work near a lily pond in Tropical Spice Garden as the state prepares to welcome the arrival of tourists.

PENANG is well prepared to welcome some 50,000 tourists expected to visit the state for food, hills, beaches and heritage delights this weekend.

State tourism and creative economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said most operators at tourists spots had been fully educated regarding the standard operating procedure (SOP) compliance at their premises.

“There are at least 16 tourism operators with Covid-19 SOP accreditation certificates, especially hotels, tourist attractions and shopping malls,” said Yeoh after a press conference on Penang International Travel Exchange (PITE 2021 Digital Show) at Tropical Spice Garden in Teluk Bahang.

He was answering questions from newsmen on Penang’s readiness for the expected surge of tourists this weekend.

Maulidur Rasul takes place next Tuesday, affording fully vaccinated travellers to take leave on Monday and get a long-awaited break in Penang.

Yeoh said Penang was the first state in Malaysia to initiate the accreditation system, which was to motivate tourism operators to play their part in adhering to hygiene and safety protocols during the pandemic.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had announced on Sunday that interstate travel would be allowed for the fully vaccinated from Oct 11.

Although there will be no more roadblocks, other SOP remains such as the rule that only the fully vaccinated can dine-in or check into hotels.

On PITE 2021 Digital Show, Yeoh said the event would be held virtually for the second year from Oct 25 to 29.

“Together with Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau (PCEB), we will showcase to a global audience the available infrastructure and upgraded facilities that can cater to physical events in the future, as well as host large virtual and hybrid events.

“I am sure when the Malaysian borders are open for international guests, Penang will be all set to welcome them,” he said.

PCEB chief executive officer Ashwin Gunasekaran said as the country prepared for international travel, it was important to proceed with existing marketing efforts while maintaining the message of safety and security in travel and organising events.

“Penang holds great promise as a preferred destination for tourism and various business events especially for the European market of corporations, travel agents, incentive or motivation houses, meeting planners and associations,” he pointed out.

PITE 2021 Digital Show will incorporate key components such as business matching between buyers and exhibitors, as well as creating an extensive marketplace for travel and business events.

The slots this year from Oct 25 to 26 are for the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions, while the dates from Oct 28 to 29 will be for Europe.

The show will have more than 100 buyers, with 40 exhibitors from Penang and Malaysia.

They will participate in virtual networking and education sessions, all taking place virtually in a simulated exhibition centre.

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