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Broader view on tourism

(From left) Chow with Yeoh, state leaders and key people of the tourism industry at the launch of the Experience Penang Year 2020 — The Diversity of Asia programme. — Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

PENANG is all geared up for a big push to draw tourists to the state next year.

With its tagline ‘The Diversity of Asia’, Experience Penang Year 2020 (EPY2020) is to usher in the excitement of Visit Malaysia Year 2020.

The Penang Tourism, Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee (Petach) will be reinventing the tourism industry from group travels to a more personalised experience.

“It must be an enriching, authentic and immersive local experience boosted by the social media, where travellers search for the ‘unique experience’ during their travels,” said Petach chairman Yeoh Soon Hin during the launch of the Experience Penang Year 2020 at Hotel Equatorial Penang recently.

“Penang’s status as a food paradise has seen us receiving many recognitions, but this has also given rise to the need to promote our other attractions and the need for repositioning,” he added.

Petach, said Yeoh, was going beyond marketing George Town as a Unesco World Heritage Site as there are also other places like Balik Pulau.

“We also have the glamping sites in Teluk Bahang, the turtle sanctuary in Pantai Kerachut, bird-watching at Hutan Air Hitam Dalam, and other ecotourism sites like the Bukit Panchor state park and Hutan Lipur Cherok To’kun on the mainland.

“The EPY2020 would also focus on domestic tourists as the presence of domestic travellers is important to generate a sustainable and consistent revenue from tourism,” he said.

To kick-start the EPY2020 in advance, the state will be organising a beauty pageant, the national Miss Asia Global in October and the international Miss Asia Global next year.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who launched the EPY2020, said Penang has been seeing an influx of tourists from 1.5 million in 2006 to 7.8 million in 2018, thanks mainly to the Unesco World Heritage site listing in 2008.

“The Unesco World Heritage site listing has benefited Penang tremendously as our streets have come alive with boutique hotels, lively cafes and recognisable street art as Penang steps into the tourism spotlight.

“With the manufacturing sector in Penang being overtaken by the services sector as the top contributor to our Gross Domestic Product, we are working to make the tourism industry, which comes under the services sector, as the main engine of growth,” he said.

Chow said the introduction of EPY 2020 was aligned with the aim to position Penang in the competitive international travel market for years to come.

SOURCE : The Star Online

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