GEORGE TOWN: The Penang International Dragon Boat Regatta (PIDBR) 2023 began with a bang at Teluk Bahang Dam on Saturday (Dec 2)
The annual event saw the participation of 62 teams from 14 countries, comprising about 1,800 rowers, compared to last year’s event with only 42 teams from seven countries.
State tourism and creative economy committee chairman Wong Hon Wai said the number of the high participants at the event highlight the importance of the PIDBR 2023 at international scale and increase attractiveness and significance on a global scale.
"With 1,800 participants, coupled with the spectators, this two-day International Dragon Boat Regatta will bring considerable footfall to Penang, a well-known tourist destination.
"The event not only allows participants to showcase their skills but also provides spectators with a visually spectacular experience and will contribute to the local economy, benefiting sectors such as tourism, hospitality, and food and beverage," he said in his opening speech at the event.
He said the event will boost Penang's economy, bringing increased patronage to hotels, restaurants, hawkers and others.
As the number of visitors increases, commercial activities in Penang will thrive, giving a variety of shopping, entertainment, and cultural experiences that will entice tourists to stay longer, hence increasing chances for the local economy.
An early raining shower did not stop spectators and visitors from watching participants in action in the competitions.
Also present were Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, consul-general of China in Penang Zhou Youbin and PBAPP chief executive officer K. Pathmanathan.
The boat race will continue on Sunday (Dec 3) with Penang Governor Tun Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak expected to attend the event in the evening.