A piece of the Golden Week pie

Local experience: One of the attractions on the island will be Chew Jetty in the George Town heritage area.

GEORGE TOWN: Though traditionally not a favourite for China nationals, Penang is looking forward to a good share of the Golden Week pie as tens of millions of Chinese swarm around the world for their holiday.

With riots in Hong Kong entering its 17th week, Penang’s tourism players expect the Chinese to view the state as a worthy destination this year, says Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Penang chairman Khoo Boo Lim.

“Many travel agencies have been promoting Penang in recent months and we expect good results, though our member hotels have yet to send in their latest occupancy data, ” he said.

The Chinese holidaymakers, he said, were into shopping and fabulous food rather than Penang’s traditional offerings of heritage, history, nature and hawker food paradise.

“But with Hong Kong losing out, we expect to win some.

“The only trouble is that there is poor flight connectivity between Penang and China.

“Even Sabah has more direct flights from China than Penang, ” Khoo said.

China’s Golden Week started on Monday and ends on Saturday when the country celebrates its national day and the nation enjoys a week-long break.

In 2017, it was estimated that 705 million China nationals travelled out of the country during the Golden Week.

Signs that Penang will be earning more tourism renminbi are already showing, with G Hotel, which is next to Gurney Plaza, getting a major share.

G Hotel director of communication Christina Tan said China nationals took up more than 100 rooms in G Hotel as well as G Hotel Kelawai for the whole week.

“It’s true that the Chinese enjoy holidays in more urban settings.

“But I have a feeling more will be coming and they will be staying in the beach resorts too, ” she said.

Penang tourism development, arts, culture and heritage committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said the state was getting popular among China travellers.

“We can see there is an increase in the number of travellers to Penang year-on-year. Our Chinese arrivals grew 14.55%, from 59,661 in 2016 to 68,341 in 2017.

“Last year, the number of China tourists was 72,386, an increase of 5.92% compared to 2017, ” he said.

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