MOU SIGNING CEREMONY OF THE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT BETWEEN PENANG CONVENTION & EXHIBITION BUREAU (PCEB)
SPEECH BY YAB CHOW KON YEOW
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
AT THE MOU SIGNING CEREMONY OF THE
STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT BETWEEN
PENANG CONVENTION & EXHIBITION BUREAU (PCEB)
& MALAYSIA AVIATION GROUP
Thursday, 24th February 2022
YB Tuan Yeoh Soon Hin
Penang State EXCO for Tourism and Creative Economy
Mr. Ashwin Gunasekeran
CEO of Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB)
Captain Izham Ismail
Group CEO of Malaysian Aviation Group (MAG)
Mr. Khairunnisak Dzun Nurin
Group Communications Head of Malaysia Airlines
Mr. Roslan Ismail
Global Sales Head of Malaysia Airlines
Mr. Phillip See Yew Jin
CEO of Firefly
Mr. Muizzuddin Mahmud
Head of MICE & Firefly Sales Business Partner
Ms. Rowena Sitra
Manager of Business Events
Members of the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
A very good afternoon to all.
I am delighted to be here today to witness yet another huge breakthrough for the Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau and the Penang Business Events.
The Penang State Government clearly understands the importance of collaboration in bringing the industry together and assisting each other to advance. I am glad that PCEB has been developing their collaborative relationships with our Southeast Asian and Asian peers to deliver increased brand recognition, in collaboration with the State Government.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we know, travelling in the business events sector, is crucial in order to explore new horizons and learn new information through numerous trade fairs, exhibits, and conferences held all over the world.
Back in 2019, the Penang State Government through PETACE, helmed by YB Yeoh Soon Hin, has pioneered tremendous efforts in attracting new direct international flights into Penang. As such, we have seen the fruition of a new Shenzhen-Penang direct flight route by Shenzhen Airlines, as well as a Changsha-Quanzhou-Penang flight route by Qingdao Airlines.
Fast forward to year 2020, we welcomed the month of January by celebrating Starlux Airlines’s inaugural flight from Taipei – Penang, which was then closely followed by Air Asia’s inaugural Penang-Chengdu flight route in March.
Meanwhile, we were also expecting Emirates to launch the Dubai-Singapore-Penang route in April but was unfortunately called off due to the global pandemic outbreak. The other destinations that have been temporarily mothballed as a result of the pandemic include Japan, Chennai India, Shanghai and Haikou, capital of China’s island province Hainan.
Nevertheless, despite the suspension of international travel and restrictions on business events, Penang hosted 156 events with a total of 19,283 attendees and funded a total of 9 business events in 2020, resulting in an Estimated Economic Impact (EEI) of RM 38.853 million.
This demonstrates that in addition to being a key destination for both international and domestic investors, Penang is also a favourable tourism and business events destination. As such, having our national carrier as a continuous strategic partner since 2018 is indeed in the right path for Penang to rocket forward in obtaining new business for our Business Events.
Thanks to Malaysia Airlines as a key partner, Penang is able to provide value-added services to business event organisers, particularly in terms of special flight prices. I am also glad that PCEB is in negotiations with Malaysia Airlines about charter flights for specific occasions. This bodes well for both Penang and Malaysia Airlines, when we go in for bids.
Penang Business Events industry partners will be able to use Malaysia Airlines' broad network to position and market Penang as the ideal Business Events hub as a result of this relationship.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In keeping with PCEB's mission to grow the BE industry, the bureau has been tasked with securing direct flights into Penang from key business events markets. Based on current data, we are optimistic that a cooperation with Malaysia Airlines would result in more and better commercial opportunities in the future.
I have credence that Malaysia Airlines will add more direct connections to Penang and establish Penang as the country's second international hub. We hope that when additional direct flights to Penang are launched, destination management businesses, travel brokers, hotels, and other private sectors will be pleased, as we anticipate an increase in events, participants, and room nights.
It is a great honour to have Malaysia Airlines join us on this exciting journey of contributing to the burgeoning Business Events market. As Penangites, we are delighted to promote Malaysian brands, none more so than Malaysia Aviation Group.
With that, I wish you all the best of luck and may this continuous relationship serve as a catalyst for Penang's growth as a global destination for business events in line with the Penang2030 vision.