Speech of YAB Tuan Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang
SGN - PEN Inaugural Flight Receiving Ceremony
25 January 2016 Kaffa @ Penang International Airport
First and foremost, a very warm welcome to all of our guests from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam! We hope your flight on AirAsia and this event today will serve as a great start to your trip here in Penang.
I would like to congratulate AirAsia on their maiden flight from Vietnam into Penang. We are very happy that this new route has commenced and Penang is definitely ready for more visitors.
Tourism continues to be a significant contributor towards Penang’s economic growth and the continuous effort and commitment shown from an airline like AirAsia will further enhance Penang as the top destination for both travel and trade.
Tourism has been a major contributor to Penang's economic growth. For instance Penang International Airport's maximum capacity of 6.5 million passengers has achieved in 2015, 5 years ahead of the scheduled 2020. There is a need for a bigger Penang airport to cater to the increased capacity. Last week, I had conveyed this to the Prime Minister when he chaired the Northern Corridor Investment Authority meeting, who said he noted my request.
I am also very happy to share that AirAsia has also launched direct flights connecting Yangon, Myanmar into Penang. And the inaugural flight will take place later in March this year.
There is a big community of Burmese here in Penang, and I am sure the announcement of the Myanmar to Penang flights is received well in both markets. With the growing number of tourists, many businesses such as hoteliers, restaurateurs or even healthcare providers, have tailored themselves to meet the rising expectations of our generation of discerning travellers.
As a leisure destination, we want to continue to create excitement to draw visitors to return, and we are also glad that AirAsia sees the value in providing direct connectivity between more Asean cities into Penang.
I am sure that Penang’s tourist arrivals will continue to see an upward trend with AirAsia’s introduction of flights from Ho Chi Minh City and Myanmar. I hope there are more opportunities where we can discuss to connect more dots from other international cities into Penang.
Once again, congratulations to AirAsia on the commencement of your flight from Vietnam into Penang, it is truly a great milestone for you and also for Penang.