Speech by Y.A.B. Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister
On 6th November 2015 At Jen Hotel
Malaysian Hotels Association (Penang Chapter) Biennial Dinner
First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizers for inviting me here tonight. I am indeed honoured to be here with you today, together with some of the top hoteliers in Penang as we celebrate the Malaysian Hotels Association (Penang Chapter) Biennial Dinner this year.
Since its inception in 1974, the Malaysian Association of Hotels has constantly strived to fulfil their vision of uniting hotels in Malaysia into one representative body, to encourage quality service, to keep abreast of the changing needs of the travelling public, to provide educational programmes related to the industry to its members and to promote international and domestic tourism.
Tourism is a significant contributor towards Penang’s economic growth, and Penang has always been a major tourist destination. Tourism and the services industry is one of the two main economic drivers for Penang. Making up 47% of Penang's GDP as compared to 48% for manufacturing in 2013, the services sector is expected to surpass the manufacturing sector over the next couple of years.
I have always been supportive of the hospitality and tourism industry not only because it is a major contributor towards Penang’s economic growth, but also because it is a continuous source of income and job opportunities for the people of Penang, especially the lower income groups. The Malaysian Association of Hotels – Penang Chapter with its 63 members to-date, has been contributing towards the tourism sector in Penang by bringing together some of the best people in the industry, uniting them and speaking collectively in one voice in order to continuously work together towards hospitality excellence.
Needless to say, Penang is also well known for our glorious food, CNNGo voted Penang one of Asia’s 10 greatest street food cities as well as Penang Laksa voted as World's No 7 most delicious food, and as a top culinary spot by Lonely Planet.
In 2008, Penang was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since then, we have benefited considerably from this prestigious status. Our talented and friendly people, good food and cultural heritage are our treasures that attract investors and tourists to Penang. Recently we were listed by Lonely Planet as the No.4 charismatic city in the world, beating out cities like Bombay, Manchester, Rotterdam and Rome!
Our vision is to transform Penang into an international and intelligent city. To make it a preferred location for investors, a destination of choice for tourists and a habitat of choice for Malaysians who desire sustainable living. I am confident that with support, collaboration and our model of a Public Private Partnership, Penang will be able to find its own way into becoming a city with plenty of opportunities for everyone.
According to statistic from Tourism Malaysia (base on Hotel Survey), Penang received 45.63% more hotel guests in 2014 compared to 2013, recording 6.85 million guests compared to 4.7 million in 2013. Despites the challenges of the economic downturn I am pleased that there are some hotels in Penang that has performed better than last year in term of hotel occupancy. On the whole our hotel occupancy may have dropped by nearly 10% but is still much better than other states' hotel occupancy that have dropped by more than 20%.
In 2015, Batu Ferringhi recorded the highest share of international visitors in Malaysia, at 67.8%, compared to Semporna (60.6%), Kuala Lumpur (57.5%), Langkawi (54.7 %) and Petaling Jaya (53.3%). Let us make Penang not only the destination of choice, but our hotels an iconic one until anyone coming to Malaysia would know or heard about our famous and world-class hotels in Penang.
In closing, please join me in taking this opportunity to thank and congratulate the Malaysian Association of Hotels and its members for bringing us together tonight, and let’s wish them a fruitful 2016 ahead. Make Penang proud! Thank you!