THE Business Events sector in Penang is booming and is set to break the RM1.5 billion mark in estimated economic impact (EEI) this year.
Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) chief executive officer Ashwin Gunasekeran said the bureau was targeting an EEI of RM1.6 billion this year (2019).
“We are also looking at a marginal 30% increase in the number of events this year,” he told a press conference after the launching ceremony of the Business Events Penang 2018 Annual Review at E&O Hotel Penang today.
Penang has managed to hit RM1.312 billion in EEI from 2,733 events last year (2018).
PCEB reported that Penang hosted 1,251 events with an EEI of RM808 million in 2016. In 2017, the number of events increased to 2,511 with the EEI breaking the RM1 billion mark for the first time.
Ashwin said that the World Congress on Information Technology 2020 (WCIT2020) which is scheduled to be held in Penang next year (2020) would help to boost the figures further.
“WCIT is a key example of an international association meeting that Penang is constantly targeting.
“The WCIT2020 can easily attract about 4,000 delegates to the state and will boost the industries in Penang.
“The economic impact for that conference alone will be three times more than any particular conference,” he said.
WCIT2020 will take place in Penang, from Sept 13 to 16 next year (2020) at Setia SPICE Convention Centre.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow congratulated PCEB for the achievements.
“The service sector contributes 49% of the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 59% in terms of creating job opportunities.
“The key component of the service sector in Penang is tourism.
“Tourism in Penang has been experiencing steady growth over the past few years. The crucial demand for a dedicated exhibition centre in Penang has seen another significant private sector investment – the Penang Waterfront Convention Centre (PWCC).
“Located within The Light City, PWCC is slated for opening in early 2021,” he said.
Chow added that the Business Events sector in Penang is maturing.
“The sector has displayed tremendous potential and there is room for it to grow to be a key player and substantial contributor to the economy,” he said.
Penang Tourism Development, Heritage, Culture and Arts Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said growth in the Business Events sector would positively impact the economic growth of Penang, which would also propel community development.
“PCEB was set up as the state’s arm to develop the business tourism sector and working together with different levels of Government and Business Events stakeholders.
“In 2018, PCEB penetrated two new and vital markets for Business Events – India and the United Kingdom.
“I believe that the Business Events Penang Annual Review will be able to provide the information you need to plan your sales and marketing for the coming year.
“My office is fully committed to ensure the success of the Business Events in Penang,” he said.
Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Alvie Cheng
Video by Chan Kok Kuan