Penang expects 50,000 visitors in first weekend after Putrajaya lifts interstate travel curbs

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Penang state executive councillor Yeoh Soon Hin speaks to reporters during a media conference at the Tropical Spice Garden in George Town October 11, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang state executive councillor Yeoh Soon Hin speaks to reporters during a media conference at the Tropical Spice Garden in George Town October 11, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Oct 11 — Penang is ready to welcome as many as 50,000 visitors this coming weekend now that state borders are open again, starting today.

State executive councillor in charge of tourism and creative economy Yeoh Soon Hin said the long wait is eagerly awaited and that operators of hotels and tourism attractions are well prepared for the influx of visitors.

“Conservatively, we can expect an increase in hotel occupancy rate of between 60 to 70 per cent this weekend,” he said in a press conference today after announcing an online Penang International Travel Exchange (PITE) event later this month.

He said many of the tourism attractions in Penang have opened up since October 1.

“About 90 per cent of the attractions are expected to open by middle of this month as most of their staff will have been fully vaccinated by then,” he said.

He said all of the operators have been very careful and diligent when it comes to SOP compliance for the health and safety of their visitors and that awareness campaigns will continue.

“We are confident our tourism sector will bounce back after interstate travel resumed this week,” he said.

He said the state will focus fully on domestic tourism for now until international borders reopen.

“International travel is not expected to open until maybe the middle of next year, this also depends on the international trend,” he said.

Penang’s tourism sector was a key economic generator to the state before the Covid-19 pandemic hit last year.

Yeoh said the sector is now trying to rebuild and that many tourism events planned for 2020 have been deferred to next year, as the state prepares to welcome back international tourists.

The PITE 2021 Digital Show will be held from October 25 to 29.

The travel exchange will happen from October 25 — 26 for the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions, while from October 28 — 29 will focus on Europe and the UK.

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