Getting a share of the pie


Ashwin (In batik shirt) and Yeoh (third left) listening to the views of a trader (left) in Armenian Street, Penang. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

HOTELS in George Town, Penang, which mostly cater to business events, will soon enjoy their share of benefits following the reopening of state borders.

Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau chief executive officer Ashwin Gunasekeran said the market remained active amid the pandemic and was looking bright with the lifting of interstate travel restrictions.

“We have received a lot of requests especially from domestic corporations as well as multi-level marketing and financial institutions.

“All the marketing done by the state has given clients the confidence to retain their businesses in Penang,” he told reporters after a tour of Armenian Street on Sunday.

Ashwin said now that Penang and several other states had moved into Phase Three of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) since Oct 18, all businesses would be allowed to operate physically.

Visitors strolling along Armenian Street.Visitors strolling along Armenian Street.

“Since the government’s announcement of the good news, we have been getting requests.

“However, group sizes may vary from as small as 30 people, but what is important is for business to start picking up.

“We foresee that city hotels and group meeting facilities would be getting this segment of the business.

“Anything larger than that, then we would recommend for convention centres to be ready with the necessary standard operating procedures in place,” he said.

Ashwin said while domestic business events were on the rise in Penang, the international segment remained strong with only a few cancellations.

Families enjoying the attractions at the Esplanade.Families enjoying the attractions at the Esplanade.

“Over 90% of international business events are still intact and will start as early as the third quarter of 2022.

“Should international borders open even earlier, we will persuade organisers of the smaller- scale international business events to be held sooner.

“At present, the calendar for business events in Penang goes right up to 2026,” he said.

Earlier, state tourism and creative economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said many businesses within tourist hotspots were slowly seeing visitors once again.

“To help revive Penang’s tourism sector, we have allocated over RM2mil in incentives to be implemented.

“We will continue to champion the concept of ‘responsible tourism’ for everyone to play their role.

“We foresee that the industry will continue to grow after international borders are open.

“At the moment, beach resorts are getting good response from tourists with some recording over 90% occupancy rate,” he said.

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