Penang recorded a total of 156 business events in 2020 despite the halt on international travel and limitations placed on daily activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
These attracted 19,283 participants who amassed 48,963 room nights and brought the state an estimated economic impact of RM66mil — according to the Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau (PCEB).
The numbers were revealed during the launch of the 2020 Business Events Penang Annual Review held at The Wembley – A St Giles Hotel Penang.
Addressing attendees, PCEB CEO Ashwin Gunasekeran said last year was an undeniably difficult one, but it taught the industry to always choose the path of strength, resilience and creativity.
“We have to keep in mind that the business events industry is built on the principle of collaboration. And now more than ever, we have to cleverly harness its power and exhaust every potential avenue so that we can find opportunities for business together.
“Business travellers spend on average three times more than leisure tourists, and it has proven to be the most lucrative, high-spend and high-yield segment of tourism.
“In 2019, Penang contributed 6.7% or RM94.7 billion to the national GDP, making the state the fourth highest contributor. Within that total, RM48.7 billion came from the services sector.
He also shared about PCEB’s Business Events Penang Rejuvenation Plan 2021 – 2023 which positions the state as a ‘responsible destination’ built on the three thrusts of collaboration, digitalisation, and education and support.
The ceremony, held recently prior to the announcement of the nationwide MCO, was launched by Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.
Chow praised the business sector’s resilience in the face of pandemic-induced challenges, citing their innovation as key in helping the industry through survival mode and keeping the state’s economy afloat.
He said Penang still managed to attract RM14.1bil in investments last year, with about 75% of that being foreign direct investments — mainly in industries like electrical and electronics, machinery and equipment, as well as medical devices.
He said these have generated thousands of job opportunities that could help offset job losses suffered by the hard-hit tourism and services sector, and pointed to the digital economy as the next ‘engine of growth’.
“The future is all about digital transformation and retransformation.
“As Malaysia carries forth with vaccination, we look forward to more businesses coming back safely into Penang.
“I’m confident that the business events industry will continue to play an important role in the state’s economic growth, and our resilience will become an empowering force as we pursue the Penang2030 vision.
“Events that take place can potentially leave legacies that enhance our destination, ” added Chow, who then joined state tourism and creative economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin in the launching gimmick.
Attendees were then shown a video highlighting all the activities and initiatives done by stakeholders last year to rejuvenate the sector following the pandemic.
Source: The Star