THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF ESCAPE PHASE 3 & THE OPENING OF THE GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS LONGEST TUBE WATER SLIDE
SPEECH BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
AT THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF ESCAPE PHASE 3 & THE OPENING OF THE GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS LONGEST TUBE WATER SLIDE
9TH NOVEMBER 2019
Welcome to Penang.
It is a privilege to be here today to witness the official launch of ESCAPE Phase 3 Gravityplay and the opening of the Guinness World Records longest tube water slide.
For years, ESCAPE has been the leading tourist attraction in Penang and the number one theme park in Malaysia, welcoming visitors from across the globe to its exciting rides and games hosted in the midst of the beautiful natural environment here in Teluk Bahang.
According to statistics from the Penang Immigration Department, visitor arrivals hit a record high for the period from January to August 2019, increasing 207.7% from 29,101 to 89,535 over the same corresponding period for last year.
Many of these visitors came to visit ESCAPE. A study conducted by USM recently showed that 10.9% of international and domestic tourists came to Penang to visit ESCAPE, a remarkable statistic and testament to the importance of ESCAPE to both Penang’s and Malaysia’s tourism growth ambitions.
As part of Experience Penang Year 2020 and the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 of Malaysia, tourism and especially eco-tourism has been pushed to the fore as part of the government’s initiatives to boost the economy.
ESCAPE embodies every facet of what Penang is trying to achieve on both the tourism front as well as green, sustainable initiatives. Their retro-eco theme park is situated within the natural environment, reintroducing fun within safe and natural settings through self-directed play.
I am also very pleased with the signing of agreement taking place today between ESCAPE and GSPARX to build a photovoltaic facility which will supply renewable energy to ESCAPE. This will make ESCAPE the first theme park in Asia to be carbon neutral, which is 100% reliant on renewable energy, putting ESCAPE once again in the international spotlight for its green efforts.
ESCAPE is not only a friend to the environment, but a perfect example which showcases that not all developments are destructive to nature. ESCAPE has turned this former construction site of the Teluk Bahang dam into a world-class tourist attraction. This is one direction that the Penang state government is heading in pushing for green and sustainable projects as part of our effort in creating a variety of quality tourism products across the island and mainland in line with vision Penang2030.
We, therefore, intend to look after the economic interests of the state and the welfare of the people by striking a good balance between development and conservation.
An example would be the new paired road connecting Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang. In 2020, Teluk Bahang will see two more hotels opening. These new initiatives will cater to the needs of residents and the expected increase in tourist numbers.
We need to build the infrastructure to support rising numbers of visitors in order to address congestion concerns as Penang continues its development as a world-class tourist destination and the crown jewel of Malaysian tourism.
We will assure that the environment is protected, following the example set by ESCAPE.
In closing, I would like to congratulate Mr Sim and ESCAPE once again for your remarkable achievements to date. We look forward to watching ESCAPE shine and continue to be a beacon of light for Penang and the tourism industry.