TWO television celebrities from India fell in love with Penang during their five-day video shooting session in the state.
Indian model and actor Nishant Malkani and TV actress Giaa Manek were in Penang from May 31 to June 4 to feature Penang in the popular Indian TV channel AAJ TAK.
This was the first time Nishant visited Penang and Malaysia.
“The whole journey was breathtaking. As this was my first time, I did not know what to expect.
“The people here are friendly, welcoming and warm. It is simply amazing!
“I enjoyed the diversity you have here in Penang. The state is a great destination with beautiful sceneries. I would love to come back,” he told a press conference at Hotel Equatorial Penang today.
He said he came to Penang with a bag but going back with four; drawing laughter from the media personnel.
Giaa said she learnt a lot from her trip to Penang.
“I have collaborated with many states and countries throughout my career, and the experience I gained from this trip to Penang was amazing.
“I visited Kuala Lumpur two years back, so it felt like I was going home. I wish I could stay a little longer,” she said.
Giaa said she was a changed person after visiting Penang.
“I became more fearless after visiting Penang. Both Nishant and I visited the Rainbow Skywalk at The TOP in Komtar.
“I realised that fear is only in your mind and you can overcome it if you have the will,” she said.
She revealed that she was a coffee lover and she loved the coconut coffee so much that she bought some back to India.
Giaa said Nishant and herself also enjoyed the masala tea at the Tropical Spice Garden.
AAJ TAK TV show editor Amit Tyagi said he was impressed with the Penang government for preserving the Indian culture in the state.
“I noticed that the Indian culture is well preserved in Penang. It is so beautiful here. The people of Penang are friendly, and state is beautiful. Penang has a lot of potential,” he said.
Amit said Giaa and Nishant’s experiences in Penang would be aired as part of AAJ TAK’s travel show – ‘Saas Bahu Aur Betiyaan’.
“It is a song and dance-oriented show. It is scheduled to telecast by the end of June.
“The one-hour show is telecasted daily from 2.25pm to 3.30pm (IST). The show has covered other different international locations including Australia, Switzerland, California, Dubai and others,” he said.
The Indian TV channel was collaborating with Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) on this project.
PCEB chief executive officer Ashwin Gunasekeran said the number of Indian travellers to Penang had increased by about 11% in 2018 as compared with 2017.
“The number of Indian arrivals to Penang by air and seaport last year was 43,537.
“These arrivals are coming in despite Penang not having a direct flight from India.
“We are very confident that leisure and business travellers from India to Penang will continue to increase,” he said.
State Tourism Development, Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said the project was another effort to showcase Penang as an ideal tourist destination.
“We have been working really hard to promote the state. Penang is more than just heritage and culture.
“It is also an ideal destination for romantic and adventure getaways, shopping, food and ecotourism.
“We hope that the TV show will present our beautiful Penang as a perfect holiday destination and we welcome them to the state,” he said.
Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Alissala Thian