DONNING their signature batik shirts, tourist guides are back on the streets to explore Penang’s latest attractions before international travellers come here in January.
Penang Tourist Guides Association (PTGA) chairman Chin Poh Chin said 80 members were divided into eight groups during the training session.
“With 10 members in each group, members can easily familiarise themselves with the new standard operating procedures (SOP).
“We expect cruise ships to arrive in January, with most of the visitors from Singapore which is the region’s main port of call.
“About 700 members under the PTGA, including 500 full-time tourist guides, are ready to get back to work.
“With new SOP imposed, there will be changes on how we organise activities for the visitors. We just have to adapt to it,” she said after flagging off the tourist guides at the Esplanade.
Penang tourism and creative economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, who was present, said Penang would continue to champion the ‘Responsible Tourism’ concept to instil confidence among tourists.
“Trust is the new currency and safety is now a major concern for travellers.
“We have initiated a Covid-19 accreditation programme for authorities to ensure all tourism players adhere to the SOP.
“We hope this will make tourists feel safer when visiting Penang,” he said.
Yeoh said the first cruise ship bringing domestic tourists from Langkawi was expected to arrive on Dec 22, followed by international arrivals in months to come.
“With the reopening of international borders, our main effort will be to get tourists to come back.
“Before the pandemic, we had a holistic plan to capture the market from big cities in China such as Chengdu, Guandong, Shanghai, Shenzhen as well as Japan, South Korea and India,” he said.
Besides revisiting George Town’s heritage enclave, the groups also made stops at the Pinang Peranakan Mansion, Wat Chayamangkalaram and Wat Dhammikarama temples, Penang Butterfly Farm, Container Art in Balik Pulau as well as homestays, restaurants and souvenir shops.
Also present were Association of Tourist Attractions Penang (ATAP) chairman Ch’ng Huck Theng and Motac assistant administration officer Rohizat Ab Rahman.