Penang pushes its ‘world’ attractions in bid to draw domestic tourists

Penang is the first choice of destination for most of Malaysians during holidays, according to Association of Tourist Attractions of Penang Chairman Ch'ng Huck Theng. — Picture by Steven Ooi
Penang is the first choice of destination for most of Malaysians during holidays, according to Association of Tourist Attractions of Penang Chairman Ch'ng Huck Theng. — Picture by Steven Ooi

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GEORGE TOWN, Dec 22 — Penang launched its “Experience it all in Penang, responsibly” campaign today, focusing on local attractions that were similar to others abroad to try and attract more domestic visitors to the state.

Penang Global Tourism chief executive officer Ooi Chok Yan today unveiled a promotional video that compared 14 tourist attractions in the state that were comparable to those found all around the world.

“We don't have to go to Hong Kong, China, New Zealand, Scotland, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, Japan and Australia when we have our own similar attractions right here in Penang,” he said when unveiling the video at the E&O Hotel today.

Those who had wanted to visit Japan's Hirakata T-Site Bookstore can find Penang's very own version at Gurney Paragon's BookXcess.

“You don't have to spend on international flight tickets and worry about exchange rates, just take a drive to Gurney Paragon and you can have a similar instagrammable experience,” he said.

He also compared Penang Hill's funicular train ride to Hong Kong's peak tram, The TOP Penang's rainbow skywalk to China's Zhangjiajie glass bridge, The Habitat Penang Hill's Flight of the Colugo to New Zealand Rotorua canopy tours, Penang's ferry to Hong Kong's Kowloon ferry, Penang's Escape Waterplay to Thailand's Black Mountain Waterpark, Penang's Armenian Street and Butterworth Art Walk to Australia's Hosier Lane and many more.

For those longing for something nature-based, Ooi said Penang's Frog Hill offered a similar experience to China's Jiuzhai Valley National Park and The Habitat Penang Hill's Langur Way Canopy Walk which is similar to New Zealand's Redwoods Treewalk Rotorua.

Even Penang's heritage buildings were comparable to those found overseas such as Penang's row of colourful heritage buildings along Kek Chuan Road, which was like Singapore's Joo Chiat Road Peranakan shophouses, Penang's clan jetties to Cambodia's Kampung Phluk and Penang's Kek Lok Si Temple to China's Temple of the Six Banyan Trees.

Ooi said five of these attractions were part of the “World Wonders of Penang.”

These were the world's steepest tunnel track in Penang Hill, the world's highest altitude stressed ribbon bridge in The Habitat, the world's first tower curved skywalk in The TOP Penang, the tropical world's first butterfly and insect sanctuary in Entopia by The Butterfly Farm and the world's longest water slide with a Guinness World records title by Escape Theme Park.

The campaign was part of the state's efforts to encourage domestic tourism and attract more local visitors to the state since international borders were still closed.

According to the Association of Tourist Attractions of Penang (Atap) chairman Ch'ng Huck Theng, Penang was the first choice of destination for most Malaysians during holidays.

“We saw nice growth during the weekends in August to September but it dropped again during the lockdown between October and November,” he said.

He said it was a good sign to see traffic jams on the roads in Penang once again since last weekend as this meant there is an influx of visitors into the state.

“It is encouraging as attractions like The Habitat and Entopia saw a few hundreds of visitors over the weekend,” he said.

However, Ch'ng said most local attractions will only see visitors during weekends but there was a gap on weekdays.

“Most locals can only travel on weekends so weekdays are still slow, previously, international tourists fill in the gaps on weekdays,” he said.

He hoped the country's border will reopen soon to allow international tourists into the country, especially now with the availability of vaccines.

He then urged all visitors to strictly adhere to the Covid-19 SOPs for the safety of everyone and to prevent any future lockdowns.

“I don't think the industry can withstand another lockdown,” he said.