BUKIT Tambun assemblyman Goh Choon Aik believes that Penang has the potential to be a state with interesting hotspots for river cruise tourism.
He pointed out that Sungai Kerian, Sungai Perai and Sungai Muda are suitable rivers for river cruise tourism, which should be further developed and promoted.
Goh emphasised that river cruise tourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the tourism industry, and therefore it is important for the Penang government to tap into this opportunity and bring this new tourism product to Penang.
“River cruise tourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the tourism industry. We need to follow in Melaka’s footsteps, which has been successful in developing river cruise tourism.
“We can see that tourists visiting Melaka enjoy exploring the city by boat,” he said, commenting on the Melaka River Cruise.
Goh expressed his hope that Penang could create a similar experience for tourists.
However, he added that Penang still lacks a clear guideline and proper market study for the industry.
“Due to this, the local river cruise operators, who had initially planned to start the business in Penang, have moved to Langkawi, Kedah, which has a better demand for cruise tourism,” he claimed.
According to Goh, Penang also lacks proper jetties along the riverbank to support the river cruise tourism industry.
He suggested that the state government should facilitate the process and request the building of more jetties to cater to the industry’s needs. He emphasised that the support of the state government in the river cruise industry is crucial to its success.
Sherry Low and her husband Jeremy Chan, who are also cruise operators, agreed with Goh’s proposal. They noted that Penang has the potential for river cruise tourism, but the lack of proper facilities and infrastructure makes it difficult to support this industry.
Low and Chan said due to bureaucratic issues, it was challenging to obtain approval to build a jetty. Thus, they decided to do their business in Langkawi, Kedah.
The Buletin Mutiara team was invited to see and get inside the new catamaran built by Low’s company. Later, the team was taken on a river cruise tour along the Sungai Kerian to enjoy a scenic view of the river. Low also mentioned that the new catamaran would be used in Langkawi for cruise tourism there.
Story by Riadz Akmal
Pix by Ahmad Adil Muhamad