Promote tourism actively in Penang

The DAP-led Penang government has been asked to be more active in promoting and developing the tourism sector in Penang following a drop in tourist arrivals in the state.

State Gerakan Youth chief Oh Tong Keong said Penang had a lot of tourist attractions and facilities but tourist arrivals had dropped in the last two years.

He said hotel occupancy from 2008 to 2009 dropped by 6.1 per cent.

“According to the report by the Socio-Economic and Environmental Research Institute (SERI) Penang, hotel occupancy dropped from 64.7 per cent to 57.6 per cent in 2009,” he told reporters at the state assembly building, here, today.

He said Gerakan was disappointed with the current situation as many of the people in Penang depended on the tourism sector for a living.

Furthermore, he said, the Tourism Ministry recently revealed that the number of tourist arrivals in Penang dropped from 6.3 million to 5.9 million in 2009.

“This shows that the state government failed to organise new tourism programmes and activities to attract more tourists, but is still sticking to the old activities.

“The Penang Bridge Run, Penang Festival, Chingay Festival and Dragon Boat Race are events introduced by the previous state government from the Barisan Nasional.

“The current state governmet must initiate new programmes to draw the tourists,” he said.