GEORGE TOWN: Find out how many Penangites are obese, how many local SMEs are controlled by women, how little tourists spend here and many more honest assessments of the state’s socio-economy in The Penang2030 Guide. Readers will get a frank view of the challenges Penang faces and a comprehensive plan to overcome them.
Did you know that the average tourist in Penang spends a mere RM1,166 per visit?
The Penang2030 Guide points out that tourists in Kuala Lumpur spend RM2,885 each on average, in Bangkok (RM2,849) and in Singapore (RM4,266).
“A greater variety of quality products across the island and mainland is needed to attract higher-value tourists,” the writers of the Guide said, laying down six objectives and three targets for tourism players to work towards.
They include attracting investments for at least five new high-value international tourism products by 2030, roping in education providers to create a higher quality of customer service, and strengthening the quality of domestic tourism to promote sustainability.
The planners and analysts behind Penang2030 Guide found out that the GDP contribution of Penang’s creative and cultural sector is a paltry 0.9%.
The contribution of this sector Malaysia-wide is 1.6% and in Thailand, a decent 12%.
“To diversify Penang’s economy, new drivers of growth are required to tap into local strengths and emerging global trends.
“The emerging creative sector in Penang includes tech start-ups and culture-based activities. But its contribution to the GDP is less than 1%. A coordinated effort that mirrors the success of the manufacturing industry is required,” the Guide said.It also revealed that Penangites shun public transport, with just 3.2% of them using it, compared with 19.6% in Kuala Lumpur and 67% in Singapore.
Penangites also seem uninterested in a participatory democracy because only 2.8% of Penangites use the Internet to participate in online consultation or voting to define civic or political issues, compared with 11.8% of Selangorians.
And despite every effort to encourage gender equality, women still own only 16% of local SMEs.
In what can be seen as a transparent account of Penang’s challenges, the state government invites Penangites to study the Guide and play a role in helping to achieve the targets and objectives spelled out in the 33-page book.
“With help from Penang Institute and Think City, and other advisers that my office has access to, my government would like to herewith present The Penang2030 Guide to the public. It is an evolving document that expresses my goal to not leave anyone behind as Penang moves on towards to greater heights,” wrote Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow in the foreword.
“Penang2030 is, in many ways, my invitation to everyone concerned with the well-being of Penang to work with each other, and with the many arms of the government, to make Penang a place that is even more enviable than it already is,” he added.
The guide outlines dozens of objectives, key initiatives, foundational projects and targets that Penangites must focus on to achieve a high Happiness In Penang (HIP) Index.
The state will use four indices in the HIP Index, nicknamed FEEL (Freedom, Environmental conservation, Economics and Liveability), to keep an eye on how happy Penangites are.
Chow launched his Penang2030 vision last August to create a “family-focused, green and smart state”.