THE Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), in collaboration with local associations, have successfully managed to bid and secure 20 international conferences, which are to be held between this year and 2024.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the conferences, which were secured from January to August this year, were expected to draw 14,000 delegates.
“This will bring an estimated economic impact of RM173 million to the country,” she said in her speech during the opening ceremony of the
three-day World Hospitality, Lifestyle and Entertainment Exhibition and Conference (WHOLE PENANG 2020) at Setia SPICE Convention Centre today.
She added that, according to the report by MyCEB, 70 events had been postponed and 20 were cancelled.
“As we all know, trade and business events are highly dependent on international arrivals.
“However, the Government has to be cautious on opening its international borders in the best interest of the country to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“We are working towards helping the local industry players and to get them ready to bounce back when the time comes,” she said.
Nancy said, based on occupancy report from MAH, the overall occupancy rate in the country is about 38%, with high occupancy recorded at beach and island destinations.
“The cities are still at low 20%.
“The average occupancy rate in Penang is 37%.
“While, George Town and main areas experience lower occupancy rate, Batu Ferringhi fared really well at over 70%, especially on weekends.
“Penang is known internationally as a prime destination for both leisure and business travellers.
“I am confident that WHOLE PENANG 2020 will enable us to build connections that be of great use in jump-starting our respective tourism and hospitality sectors,” she said.
Later, MAH Penang Chapter chairman Khoo Boo Lim told reporters that some hotels in Penang were doing really well on weekends.
“However, the occupancy rate on weekdays is still low. The average occupancy rate in Penang is below 40%,” he said.
Khoo said the city hotels were experiencing a lower occupancy rate because there were still not many corporate events at the moment.
Also present at the opening ceremony were Penang Tourism Development, Arts, Culture and Heritage Commitee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, Penang Island City Council mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board domestic and event division senior director Datuk Dr Amar Abd Ghapar, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Penang office) director Jonathan Freddy P. Bagang, and Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) chief executive officer Ashwin Gunasekeran.
Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Law Suun Ting