SPEECH BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
AT THE PENANG HOT AIR BALLOON FIESTA 2019
9th Feb 2019
A very good evening to all of you.
First of all, thank you for being present here for the official launching of the Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2019.
I am pleased to see so many of you here with us this evening at Padang Polo, where we are almost being fully surrounded by huge beautiful balloons. It is a great honour for me to grace this event, especially during this celebrative season. The Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta for the past years has been organised especially for the public, where it is funded by the Penang State Government. It is just one of the many events and programmes organised for both locals and visitors alike to come and enjoy. And as most of you are aware, not only are these events and programmes undertaken on the island, but also on the mainland, a clear indication of the emphasis placed on Penang as a whole by the state government.
Other than never-ending events and festivities, I have noticed since taking office in May that Penang is continuously launching new attractions. Many know Penang for our heritage, unique infrastructure, culture and of course the delicious street food we have, where you won’t get the same authentic taste anywhere else in the world. If you have not heard, The Habitat Penang Hill just recently launched their Colugo Zip, an adventure course comprising of five zip lines, one abseil and one rope bridge. This will offer visitors a new way to marvel at the beauty of Penang’s rainforest, and experience gliding from tree to tree through the rainforest. The Habitat Penang Hill sits on the fringe of Penang Hill’s virgin jungle reserve area that dates back to 130 million years old. To enhance tourists’ experience, Phase Three of Penang Hill’s Lower Station was launched just last month. The development of the Lower Station was carried out in several stages, including improvement of facilities, waiting area expansion, opening of food and beverage shop lots, hall and surau as well as an upgrade of the ticket counters.
For eco-lovers and the adventurous, Penang welcomed its first glamping resort up in Teluk Bahang. Boulder Valley Glamping Site in Penang is for those who want to try camping without sacrificing modern comforts. Set on the Teluk Bahang-Balik Pulau eco-tourism belt, this place was developed on a 10ha (hectare) site offering glamorous camping or ‘glamping’ in short, amid the unique boulders and tropical greens.
Other than these, a world-renown and much-loved brand is set to open in Penang next month! IKEA sets foot in Penang, adding on to the many attractions we already have over at the mainland. This addition is not only a much-awaited attraction in Penang, but it also comes as a convenience for many Penangites.
Ladies and gentlemen, tourism plays a major role in Penang, and it is the main contributor to Penang’s economy. Penang’s tourism products per se is made up of real and existing elements, where they have always been in existence. And this is how we are unique in what we can offer. It is obvious that Penang has been put on the world map and many are starting to know Penang well. This can clearly be seen on the percentage airport arrivals at the Penang International Airport. In 2018, total international passenger arrivals to the Penang International Airport show a 15.21% increase compared to the previous year. In fact, since the beginning of 2018, there has been a double-digit growth of international arrivals every month to the Penang International Airport which recorded 1.78 million arrivals in 2018 compared to almost 1.55 million the year before.
Ladies & Gentlemen,
Without delaying any further, I wish to end my speech here by thanking the organising team of the Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2019 - AKA Balloon Sdn Bhd, together with the support of the Penang Island City Council (MBPP), Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) and Penang Global Tourism. Enjoy yourselves this evening and tomorrow, be awed by the breathtaking sight of these balloons and remember to take many photos!
Thank you and good night.