Malaysian squash legend Nicol David is the face of Penang’s tourism next year

THE World Games Greatest-Athlete-of-All-Time award recipient Datuk Nicol David has been appointed as the Penang Tourism Ambassador for the year 2022.


Nicol, 37, said she was truly grateful to be appointed as the Penang Tourism Ambassador which would enable her to showcase her hometown, Penang, to the world.


“This is such a huge honour for me because Penang is really home to me. This is where I belong and where I grew up. I am a Penangite through and through.


“Penang has so much to offer; the food (of course), the heritage and the beautiful nature. It has been a dream of mine to contribute back to my state in some way.


Nicol presents a memento to Penang Governor Tun Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak as Chow (left) and Yeoh (right) look on.


“Now, I hope that my role as an ambassador will encourage tourism in Penang, and to further generate the interest of local and international tourists to visit the state.


“Thank you again to the Penang government for this opportunity and I look forward to all that is in store for us together,” she said.


Penang Tourism and Creative Economy Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said Nicol’s appointment as the state’s tourism ambassador for the year 2022 was part of Penang’s efforts to revitalise its tourism industry in the post-Covid era.


“Her appointment will see her playing a role in boosting Penang’s tourism image, both domestically and internationally.


“We expect more restrictions to be eased next year when a greater population gets fully vaccinated.


“We have been so used to seeing Nicol in her sports attire, holding a racquet, and conquering the ring.


“But she is so much more than just that – always chatty and beaming with smiles.


“You will get to see the different sides of Nicol when she explores the state and show you what Penang has to offer,” Yeoh said.


Nicol posing with the promotional posters after the ceremony.


Yeoh added that Nicol’s appointment was also an initiative of the state government in recognising talents across different fields and genders in Penang.


“Nicol’s illustrious decades of achievement in squash is a feat to be proud of. In 2022, Nicol will add another feather to her cap as she wears the label as Penang Tourism Ambassador, leveraging on her strong global presence and deep affection for Penang to put us on the world map.


“She will be highlighting the places of interest and things to do in Penang from her own perspective,” Yeoh said.


Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow thanked Nicol for her willingness to work with the Penang government to restore the glory of the state’s tourism industry.


“Please take your time to re-explore and enjoy the wonders of our beautiful state, both the mainland and the island.


“I am pleased that we are ending the year on a positive note.


“And I hope that with our concrete efforts, we can keep up the revitalisation momentum and transform Penang (which was recently named as the one of the 15 best islands in the world to retire on by International Living) into ‘one of the most renowned tourists’ destinations in the world’,” Chow said in his speech.


Nicol’s parents, Desmond and Ann Marie, sharing her joy at the ceremony in E&O Hotel.


He said that the tourism and hospitality activities were expected to recover at a modest growth rate, aided by domestic tourism.


“We anticipate that the international visitors will return once the situation improves.


“The state government has allocated RM50 million to boost our efforts in revitalising the tourism industry next year. The allocation includes funds for tourism development projects, tourism destination promotion activities, grants for the state subsidiaries and agencies that served as tourism catalysts, and other related purposes.


“We are putting every effort to assist the industry players who are currently regaining their momentum,” Chow added.


The announcement of Nicol’s appointment at E&O Hotel today started with a caricature drawing of Nicol by three-time Malaysia Book of Records holder Azmi Hussin.


The Penang-based caricature artist created a caricature of Nicol in less than 10 minutes to reveal the identity of the Penang Tourism Ambassador.


Azmi presents the caricature that he created to Nicol.


A short promotional video with its tagline ‘My Hometown, Penang Welcomes You’ was also played during the ceremony.


Among the dignitaries who graced the momentous event were Penang Governor Tun Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak, Penang State Secretary Datuk Dr Ahmad Jailani Muhamed Yunus, consul-general of Japan in Penang Hiroyuki Orikasa, Penang Global Tourism (PGT) chief executive officer Ooi Chok Yan, PGT Board of Directors, and Nicol’s parents Desmond David and Ann Marie David.



Story by Christopher Tan

Pix by Alissala Thian

Video by Chan Kok Kuan