THE OFFICIAL OPENING CEREMONY OF COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT PENANG
SPEECH BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
AT THE OFFICIAL OPENING CEREMONY OF COURTYARD
BY MARRIOTT PENANG
4 September 2020
Courtyard by Marriott Penang
Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Dato’ Tan Chee Sing
Group Executive Vice Chairman of Tropicana
Mr Dion Tan
Group Managing Director of Tropicana
Ms Cindy Yoong
Area Director of Marketing (SEA), Marriott International
Mr Subash Basrur
General Manager of Courtyard by Marriott Penang
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
A very good morning to everyone.
First and foremost, I would like to thank Tropicana Corporation Berhad for inviting me to officiate and celebrate the opening of the Courtyard by Marriott Penang.
This event not only marks the welcome return of a favourite international hotel group to our city, but also the first Courtyard to debut (pronounced: day-biew) in Malaysia. Indeed, the return of the Marriott International to Penang offers a unique experience for everyone.
Last year, hotels nationwide welcomed 79.93 million of guests, out of which Penang received 6.39 million of guests, making us among the top five (5) states with the highest number of hotel guests in Malaysia. The number of hotel rooms in Penang have grown 4.5% from 20,306 rooms in 2018 to 21,227 rooms in 2019.
In 2019, tourists spent a total of RM20.7 billion and RM11.5 billion respectively on accommodation and F&B nationwide. As of December 2019, tourist arrivals to Malaysia rose 1% over the same corresponding period for last year to 26.1 million.
The year 2020 was meant to put Malaysia on the global tourism map with the support of the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign and together with our own Experience Penang 2020 programme, we anticipated more than 8.3 million tourists to arrive in Penang. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on all of this, and the tourism sector in Malaysia is expected to recover gradually by the end of the year and to stabilise by 2021.
We are grateful that despite the COVID-19 calamity that we are now facing, all of our industry players continue to be great pillars of support towards the State Government, as evident from the contributions – be they in cash or safety equipment – which we received during the MCO period for our Penang Lawan COVID-19 campaign!
Given the challenging circumstances which all of us faced early this year, I am glad to note that the rising occupancy rates at hotels here indicate that Penang’s tourism sector is gradually recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Most hotels have reported occupancy rates of between 78% and 100%, especially on weekends. With our rebranded Jom Experience Penang campaign, I hope hotels here will continue to receive bookings from local holiday makers while we wait for international borders to reopen.
The Penang state government is certainly committed to re-energise our tourism industry. We are the first state in Malaysia to initiate the Penang Accreditation System for tourism operators who successfully comply with the standard operating procedure (SOPs) during COVID-19 pandemic, to help boost stronger confidence among the public who are visiting hotels, tourist spots and shopping malls.
To help our hotels bounce back from the ill effects of this global health crisis, we have introduced a new website known as ‘Penang Travel Deals’ to serve as a platform for our hoteliers and tourist attractions to advertise their ongoing promotions. We have also been working with industry players to offer various promotions such as hotel packages and attractive deals to pull local tourists to the state.
We believe these initiatives will help keep Penang ahead as one of the leading tourism destinations in Malaysia. I am delighted that the Courtyard by Marriott is now part of the Penang experience for our visitors.
With the tourism industry as a fundamental pillar of the current and future socio-economic progress of Penang, we are convinced that the opening of the Courtyard by Marriott is in line with our vision to transform Penang into an international and intelligent city that is a location of choice for investors, a destination of choice for tourists and a habitat of choice for those who desire stylish living.
Ladies and gentlemen, it only remains for me to wish the first Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Malaysia every success. I have no doubt that Courtyard by Marriott will continue serving tourists and visitors in Malaysia for many years to come.