CHIEF Minister Chow Kon Yeow today launched the ‘Penang 2020: BE Unfiltered’, a new campaign by Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB), at the Hin Bus Depot in George Town to attract more quality business events to Penang.
The campaign was launched in conjunction with ‘Experience Penang Year 2020’ and ‘Visit Malaysia 2020’.
He said the campaign is supported by more than 10 core industry players, including PCEB’s strategic airline partner Malaysia Airlines.
“Business events are crucial for the economy and the development of Penang because the industry has the potential to go beyond just bringing in more quality tourists to the state,” Chow said in his speech during the launch of ‘Penang 2020: BE Unfiltered’.
“Take for instance, the World Congress on Information Technology or WCIT that Penang is hosting in 2020.
“It is the largest business event for the IT sector and is expected to draw 4,000 international delegates to the state.
“Even more significant is the potential investments that are expected to come to Penang as a result of us hosting this one congress.
“When WCIT was last hosted in Malaysia in 2008, it brought in RM8.3 billion of investments, and we hope that next year the WCIT2020 will bring in RM10 billion worth of investments. This is just one congress. PCEB is currently bidding for more conferences up to the year 2026.”
Earlier in his speech, Chow said part of the Penang2030 vision that he announced last August was also to develop the tourism sector.
He said he was happy to note that some of the initiatives taken by the state exco office for Tourism Development, Arts, Culture & Heritage (PETACH) included the ‘Experience Penang Year 2020’ campaign (EPY2020) and the Penang Tourism Masterplan.
Also present at the launch were state Tourism Development, Heritage, Culture and Arts Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, PCEB chief executive officer Ashwin Gunasekaran, MOTAC Penang director Jonathan Freddy P. Bagang and Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) CEO Datuk Zulkefli Sharif.
The others included Tourism Malaysia Northern Region director Ahmad Husni Ahmad Basri, Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH) Penang Chapter chairman Khoo Boon Lim, Hin Bus Depot owner Tan Shih Thoe, Malaysia Airlines’ Mile manager Rowena Abd Sitra and Dreamz director W.Y. Cheah.
Ashwin unveiled four new products developed for the campaign, which runs from now until December 2020 to further enhance the state’s business events offerings.
One of the four products is the PCEB Mobile App for delegates. Its main features include information on Penang for delegates, a calendar showing upcoming events and other supported business events happening in Penang. The app is now available for download on Google Play and the Apple Store.
PCEB also introduced a Penang 2020 edition of Privilege Penang – a comprehensive support programme with additional support packages from PCEB’s industry partners.
Next, Ashwin announced PCEB’s first corporate social responsibility – Penang Turtle Cares. It looks to assist in improving the turtle conservation facilities and other related activities.
Ashwin also announced that Malaysia Airlines was extending their strategic partnership until 2020, offering special flight rates for delegates coming to Penang.
“I believe Penang is ready for the next stage of destination marketing for business events, as this segment thus far has successfully positioned Penang as a second-tier destination,” he said.
“It is also important for us to showcase more of what Penang and the players of the industry are able to offer through ‘Penang 2020: BE Unfiltered’ within the campaign period.”
Yeoh, in his speech, said PETACH and the state government fully understood the importance of the tourism sector as part of the economic contribution to the state.
“To further promote the growth of the Business Events sector, we are working on getting more direct flights to Penang to increase the connectivity network and make Penang appeal more as a choice destination for Business Events,” Yeoh said.
Story by K.H. Ong
Pix by Chan Kok Kuan
Video by Darwina Mohd Daud