SOME cruise operators who operate out of Penang are considering increasing their fleet to cater for the increasing demand for cruises from Penang, said state Exco member Danny Law Choo Kiang.
He said cruising was a popular trend nowadays as passengers were able to visit different places and countries within a short period of time.
“Penang has great port facilities. As our city is quite near, passengers can disembark and within minutes, they’re in George Town.
“Tourists love Penang due to its Unesco heritage status, and we can offer something different from other places,” he told newsmen after the arrival of cruise ship Sun Princess at Swettenham Pier here yesterday.
Law, who is state Tourism Development and Culture Committee chairman, said the influx of both local and foreign cruise tourists to Penang had greatly benefited the island’s tourism industry.
He said since the pier was completed, numerous cruise vessels had made port calls in Penang.
“This will bring lots of revenue to local tourism industry players, from trishaw, bus and taxi drivers to shopping malls and tourist attraction operators.
“The response has been great. Some cruises are so popular they’re usually fully booked and passengers need to make reservations well in advance,” Law said.
According to him, apart from tourists from abroad disembarking visiting ships, there were also many coming in from Kedah, Perlis, Perak and even southern Thailand specially to board cruises here.
Some 2,000 foreign passengers disembarked from the Sun Princess, and spent the day visiting local tourist attractions, shopping malls and other places of interest, while also sampling the island’s famed cuisine.
The cruise ship, which is 2,596m long and 32.1m wide, was one of the largest in the world at the time of her construction in the mid 1990s.
After departing Perth, Australia, she also made stops in Phuket and Langkawi before arriving here in Penang.
The ship departed at 5pm, and will head for Port Klang and Singapore before returning to Australia.