GEORGE TOWN: While the Penang government has been promoting local tourism, the hygiene standard at Penang International Airport left much to be desired.
Penang tourism and creative economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin urged the airport management to conduct routine checks on its infrastructure and smart gates to ensure that these basic airport amenities were user-friendly.
He told the management to take immediate action against its poor hygiene standards that were unbefitting for an international airport.
"The hygiene standard and cleanliness of the airport is substandard at the moment, on the account of overloaded garbage cans, dirty boarding bridges, unhygienic toilets and more.
"This is unacceptable and inadequate for an international airport," he said.
Yeoh added that he was informed by the airport authorities that they were in the process of switching cleaning contractors.
"A short-term solution must be implemented in this period of transition to address the deteriorating standards of cleanliness," he said.
Yeoh emphasised that the airport played a pivotal role in shaping the first impression of the destination.
"Imagine waiting to board a plane in an unpleasant airport environment or seeing rubbish scattered around the airport as you step out of the cabin.
"It doesn’t get better with the outdated basic facilities, all of which will lead tourists to assume that the city is underdeveloped," he stressed.
Yeoh also expressed disappointment based on his personal encounters spotting filled rubbish bins and bad toilet hygiene, which were similarly raised by many netizens across social media platforms.
"The relevant departments could take immediate action to remedy the poor management of airport cleanliness, such as making the public spaces and toilets clean, as well as making sure that the smart gates are functioning as usual.
"The Penang government has been actively promoting tourism initiatives to attract local and foreign visitors.
"We have even formulated various marketing strategies with a wide range of tourism stakeholders such as international airlines, travel agencies, among others.
"The poor handling of the airport hygiene will stain its reputation and hamper all the efforts of the state government," he added.