A GIANT chingay flag, prancing ‘lions’ and a kompang performance greeted a group of foreign tourists as they entered the Tanjung Marina in Penang.
“This is really a unique mix of cultures and witnessing it is certainly an interesting way to start off the New Year,” said Ralph Atkinson, 39, from Australia.
Akiko Mori, 60, from Japan, was touched by the warm reception, adding that she had plans to make Malaysia her second home after her husband retired.
Atkinson and Mori were among 2,700 tourists from Australia, Japan, South Korea, China and Indonesia who arrived on the Royal Caribbean cruise liner early yesterday.
Each visitor received a goodie bag and a copy of Penang's Calendar of Events 2008, which featured 42 events as tourist attractions.
Penang Tourism Hospitality Committee chairman Cheang Chee Gooi said they hoped to see more cruise liners stopping in Penang.
Among the events listed in the calendar are the Penang World Music Festival, Penang Bridge Marathon, Penang Chefs Challenge, Club Crew World Championship (dragon boat race), Penang International Lantern Festival and Penang Island Jazz Festival.
Penang Tourism Action Council general manager Chin Yin Fat said there were plans to promote Penang as a destination for music tourism.
“We will continue to promote international level music-related celebrations that can attract more music lovers to the island,” he said.