Speech by Chief Minister of Penan
At Citilink Indonesia’s Inaugural Flight from Jakarta to Penang
25 March 2018, 1.15pm @ Penang International Airport
It’s my honour and great pleasure to extend a very warm welcome to all of you to Penang.
This is indeed a momentous occasion because today, 25th March 2018, marks the start of the inaugural flight from Jakarta to Penang by Citilink Indonesia.
Penang with its strategic location within ASEAN is immensely proud to be chosen by this 4-star Low Cost Carrier airline for its second international route after Dili (Timor Leste). The 66 flight routes with 268 frequency flights per day to 33 cities in Indonesia and region through the use of 50 units of Airbus A320 enabled Citilink Indonesia to be awarded 4 stars by Skytrax.
Penang is a world-class travel destination, one that is known far and wide for offering what is unique for a modern international island city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lush greenery from its age-old rainforests, beautiful hill station, shopping galore and of course, fabulous food. This Northern Malaysian state, furthermore, is also making significant inroads and gaining recognition as a preferred Business Events destination.
Hotel occupancy has gone up and our Penang International Airport is the third busiest airport in Malaysia. The services and tourism sector is growing in importance and we have developed and revived world-class attractions such as restoration of heritage buildings in George Town, theme parks, green parks, shopping malls and South-East Asia’s first underground convention centre, Subterranean Penang International Convention & Exhibition (SPICE) Centre.
Penang is noted not only for our internationally renowned heritage enclave of George Town, but also for celebrating diversity and harmony with the famous annual George Town Festival. There are also beautiful natural attractions, only a 15-minute drive from the hills or the beaches, to world-class tourist sites such as Penang Hill, Gurney Drive tourist belt, the sandy beaches of Batu Ferringhi, complete with theme parks and an outstanding butterfly farm in what's now called Entopia, as well as our science tech buildings and the first & only Penang Digital Library (the library without any books) with a strong emphasis on STEM education.
Of course, who can forget our food, mouth-watering to say the least – and widely acknowledged as the best street food in the world! For those of you who love durians, Penang also has the best durian in the world and they are available at very attractive prices with real value for money.
But best of all, is the people of Penang, who welcome visitors with warmth and generosity. After all, Penang has been a cosmopolitan and international city for over 200 years, which began when the British first took over in 1786.
Small wonder we have received a string of international accolades from the New York Times, Lonely Planet and CNN, having the best food, best place to retire, best for discerning and budget travellers. Even Yahoo Travel listed us as among the 8 top islands in the world you must explore before you breathe your last. Indeed since everyone's been here and done all that Penang has to offer, we can all die happy & with no regrets!
Passenger traffic (departure and arrival) at the Penang International Airport (PIA) hit an all time high at 7.2 million passengers last year, an increase of 8% comparing to just 6.6 million passengers in 2016. This has exceeded the airport’s maximum capacity of 6.5 million, the number projected to reach in year 2020. Plans have been approved to expand our airport from 6.5 million passengers to 12 million passengers.
The Penang State Tourism Bureau together with state agency, Penang International Halal Hub or PIHH, have been undertaking various efforts to promote Penang as a premier modern Muslim hub. A complete travel guide called "Experience Penang - A Muslim Travel Guide'’ is available to aid their discerning needs and interests when on leisure or business trips to Penang. The travel guide can also be downloaded via the PIHH website or phone apps for fast and efficient access of information.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank Citilink Indonesia once again for including Penang in its great web of flight destinations.
We most certainly look forward to a profitable and productive relationship with Citilink Indonesia.
Thank you everyone and enjoy a great evening!