Penang tourism closing on a high note


By R.

GEORGE TOWN: The arrival of winter in the northern hemisphere means that thousands of high-net-worth visitors are disembarking in Penang from cruise ships, indicating that the good times for tourism here will spill into next year.

Penang Port Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Sasedharan Vasudevan said several world cruise ships would be making their calls before the year ends, with the first quarter of next year going to be a “full calendar” for such liners.

He said that there would be about 100,000 cruise passengers from 10 cruise liners this month.

“The trend is expected to continue in the first quarter of next year with the anticipated arrival of 300,000 passengers during the period.

“This will make the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) one of the busiest in the country,” he said.

He said spending expenditure by these cruise ship passengers would lead to better business at the micro level, with the beneficiaries being traders and hawkers.

“They land at SPCT, which is by the roadside in the heart of the heritage enclave,” Sasedharan added.

He said most cruise ship passengers were from high income groups, so their presence would be a boon for retailers in Penang.

Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau chief executive officer Ashwin Gunesekeran said MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) activities accelerated in the last quarter.

“We had 400,000 delegates throughout the year during various MICE events, putting us on the map once again, and this could be described as a major recovery year,” he said.

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