Penang sees tourism boom in 2017

TOURISM in Penang is recording growth this year, with hotels, the airport, hospitals, and the cruise terminal each seeing a rise in business. State tourism exco Danny Law said airport statistics have shown an increase in passenger arrival.

From January to September this year, the Penang International Airport recorded the arrival of 5.34 million passengers, an 8.67% increase from 4.91 million passengers during the corresponding period of last year. “For the entire 2016, we had 6.7 million passengers arriving in Penang. “With arrivals up until September, we can expect to reach 7.1 million or a 7% this year,” he told reporters in Komtar today.

Law said the medical tourism sector was also doing well this year. In just the first half of the year, Penang received RM259.3 million in revenue and 187,376 foreign patients, he said. This compares with RM131.7 million revenue and 175,216 medical tourists during the corresponding period last year. “Penang is still a popular destination for Indonesians seeking medical treatment. They are still the top (arrivals) in this sector,” Law said.

Penang’s international cruise terminal at Swettenham Pier has also been doing good business this year, the exco said. “Up until September, we had 125 (port) calls by international cruise liners. We are at the top, followed by Port Klang, which recorded only 78 calls. “We can expect the cruise arrivals in Penang this year to surpass last year’s total of 136 calls, because we know that October, November and December are months when visitors want to escape the cold in their countries.”

Meanwhile, Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Penang chapter chairman Khoo Boo Lim also reported positive growth in hotel occupancy rates this year. From the start of the year to November, he said Penang MAH members had recorded higher occupancy rates every month, except in January, when the numbers dipped 2.47%. “Occupancy has been up every month from February to November this year, compared with the corresponding months last year,” Khoo said.

The lowest occupancy this year was in January at 54.59%. The highest was in August at 62.04%. Occupancy in 10 months this year increased by between 1.48% to 7.37%. from the corresponding months last year. Khoo said the figures were supplied by the more than 80 Penang MAH members that included three-to-five star hotels and boutique hotels.

He said MAH did not have data on how the Airbnb sector in Penang was faring. “It is very difficult. You can see their listings online but these operators do not provide their occupancy figures,” he said.

Source : The Malaysian Insight

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