Home » ‘Chalo Penang’ launched for Indian MICE travellers, new convention centre to lure corporates, ET TravelWorld News, ET TravelWorld

‘Chalo Penang’ launched for Indian MICE travellers, new convention centre to lure corporates, ET TravelWorld News, ET TravelWorld

by TopBusinessView

‘Chalo Penang’ launched for Indian MICE travellers, new convention centre to lure corporates

After a two-year pause, the Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) is once again hosting the Penang Roadshow India 2023 in four different cities this week till February 20.

During the roadshows that started with Mumbai on February 13, followed by New Delhi (February 15), Chennai (February 17) and Hyderabad (February 20), PCEB launched its new campaign ‘Chalo Penang’ that aims at positioning Penang as the preferred meeting and leisure destination for the Indian travellers.

“India market still stands at number five in our top source markets and realising its potential, PCEB has been strategising blueprints to position Penang higher in this burgeoning market,” said Ashwin Gunasekeran, CEO, Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau in an interaction with ETTravelWorld.

‘Chalo Penang’, he said, will offer the latest meeting and incentive packages for the groups that come into Penang from India. Malaysia Airlines is also rolling out various discounts for the corporates and other segments and the same can be availed by writing to the airline or PCEB, Gunasekeran informed.

“The idea for rolling out the campaign is to re-establish our connections with the Indian MICE market,” he stated.
According to PCEB forecasts, around 2,500 events with 260,000 delegates should take place in Penang this year, with an estimated economic impact of MYR1 billion.

Speaking about the newly opened convention centre, Butterworth Arena, Gunasekeran informed that the venue can host more than 8,000 delegates at one time, has a massive ballroom space for and a big exhibition ground as well.

With an aim of expanding its reach in India which is a key market for the Malaysian state of Penang, Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau is set to organise roadshows in India. In order to achieve better connectivity between India and Penang, the Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau is in discussion with airlines both in India and in Malaysia about the possibility of establishing additional direct flight routes between the two destinations.

“We have been selling the same to all the Indian travel agents and they seem quite excited about this new MICE facility. Since they have just opened and are very fresh in the market, we couldn’t bring them along this year. They will be joining us in next year’s show,” Gunasekeran added.17,800sq m Butterworth Arena, officially known as the Penang International Exhibition Convention Cultural & Arts Centre is located at Ampang Jajar in Butterworth and is considered as the biggest convention centre and banquet hall in Penang. The RM59 million double-storey Butterworth Arena was announced in 2017 and is fully funded by the Penang government through Penang Development Corporation (PDC).

“Apart from the meetings, international conferences and exhibitions, the facility is also known to hold the huge wedding receptions,” Gunasekeran said, adding that weddings are another segment that has seen a massive response from the India market.

“We have observed a huge surge in requests for Indian weddings in Penang. The segment, even though, is not new to Malaysia, I see the people are beginning to go out of the norm, and pick a new destination. Penang is relatively a new market for India but has been a wedding destination for many other markets. It is heartening to see that a lot of young couples and honeymooners are considering Penang, some being interested to come in via cruise,” he asserted while informing about the recent TAAI Convention that was hosted on a cruise in Penang.

Muhammad Akmal Hafiz Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Director, Tourism Malaysia, New Delhi said that Penang is also working closely to improve the air connectivity with India and Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines have identified Penang as a key player in attracting corporates from India.

Aziz said that the focus is to actually bring a few airlines to fly directly to Penang, especially from main cities like Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi. “We are in contact with some of the local Indian airlines and are also trying to push the ministry to allow direct connections into Penang,” he stated.

The growth of the tourism industry in Penang is rapidly moving forward now, he avowed.

Terming India as the most important market for Malaysia, Aziz informed that 2019 saw 735,000 Indians coming into Malaysia, thereby, pushing the rank of India market to number six. “We are now targeting to make it the number one market,” he expressed while speaking on the sidelines of the Delhi leg of the roadshow.

Now in its sixth edition, the Penang roadshow kicked off in Mumbai observing a total strength of 350 travel agents. By resuming an in-person event after two-year virtual roadshows, the sixth edition engaged almost 14 registered exhibitors with Indian buyers from the MICE industry, together with PCEB.

The agents and sellers will network in the Indian cities with an estimated 1000 buyers and trade visitors expected to turn out during the four-city roadshow in India.

Concluding with a positive message, Gunasekeran said, “This conveys that Penang is ready to welcome the Indian visitors back and reflects its capability to host the world-class events.”

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