Penang Expects Record Year for Tourism

Malaysia, Penang, data

Competition in the hotel market, a weak ringgit and an attractive image of Penang is increasingly drawing tourists to this island in Northern Malaysia. According to statistics from Malaysian Airports Bhd, international arrivals for the period Jan-Aug 2017 rose 8% to 997,627 from 919,506 in the same period last year. Statistics from Penang Port Sdn Bhd also shows an increase in arrivals from international cruise ships for the January-June 2017 period, rising to 172,438 from 114,230 a year earlier.

“The weakened currency also deters Malaysians from travelling abroad, fuelling domestic tourism,” declared Penang Global Tourism chief executive officer Ooi Chok Yan to Malaysian newspaper the Star.

 Ooi explained that tourist arrivals to Penang are mainly from Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia, Australia, the UK, the US, and the Indian subcontinent.

According to the Domestic Tourism Survey 2016 by the Department of Statistic Malaysia, Penang registered the second highest increase of domestic arrivals within the country. Domestic arrivals represent 55% of all arrivals to Penang while generating about 70% of the occupancy in hotels.

“With the inauguration of Qatar Airways connecting Penang and Doha three times a week starting from Feb 6, 2018 onwards, Penang is forecast to enjoy arrivals from non-traditional European countries such as Austria and Scandinavia, as well as the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) and other Middle-Eastern countries,” the Penang Global Tourism Chief told the newspaper.

Consequently, occupancy rate of hotels in Penang are expected to improve to about 68% this year for members of the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH, Penang Chapter), compared to 63% in 2016. This is driven largely by domestic tourism.

The average room rate of hotels in Penang has increased to around RM290 per night, compared to RM264 per night in 2016. Beach hotels are now priced around RM380 to RM680, while the city hotels are priced around RM250. According to the MAH Penang Chapter, hotels in Penang provide good value for money with very good five-star facilities at very attractive rates.

Most of the hotels under MAH are already seeing strong bookings for the forthcoming Christmas and Chinese New Year holidays. Hotels however are facing increased competition from Airbnb providers.

(Source: The Star)