Penang: Visitors do not visit you just because you are CHEAP

Reported in a local English media. Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Penang Chapter chairman Khoo Boo Lim said domestic tourism was expected to increase this year as more people reduced their spending. One main reason is because many Malaysians would be spending their money locally with the decline in Ringgit’s value. He said that the current exchange rate favours foreign tourists. Penang state tourism bureau Penang Global Tourism (PGT)’s Chief Executive Officer, Ooi Chok Yan has the same thoughts. He said that with the weaker Ringgit, locals are now travelling within and more foreign tourists are coming but Penang needs to be more accessible. For example, more direct flights would help tremendously. He quoted the George Town Festival as having the ability to pull tourists and cause them to return to Penang.

tourist arrivalsDo tourists visit Penang because of Ringgit’s depreciation? If this is the major reason, then why did tourists flock to Penang even when ringgit was far stronger than today for many years before today? Secondly, if it’s simply because of Ringgit, then Penang better be worried because regionally, Ringgit is unlikely to be cheapest over a longer term. Look around please. Thinking further, does this also mean that Singapore will face huge problems soon as tourists would be shunning it totally and perhaps dropping into Japan more since the Yen was an underperformer for the longest periods of time?

Personally, after having been to 21 countries in the world, even if the Japanese Yen becomes stronger, I would prefer to visit it anytime over Singapore. The reason is because Japan has so many things which Singapore does not have and Tokyo has as much of the modern stuffs that Singapore has. However, in real numbers, as per Wikipedia, in 2014, Singapore welcomed 15 million international tourists while Malaysia welcomed 27.4 million. Japan had just 13.4 million. Stop wondering, start understanding that the efforts by the tourism boards of the countries play a part in putting forth the real VALUE of visiting instead of just putting the blame on currency when things do not work accordingly.

Coming back to the state I worked for 14 years since my graduation. For investment, especially for property, Penang should be a natural choice. This is if we consider Penang to be behind Singapore and Malaysia remains stable and Penang continues to grow to the Singapore of today in say 15 years’ time? Think ahead, buy today. Waiting is a better game to play when we have something which will worth more in future. Penang has the following which I think is second to none. We get to enjoy great varieties of really good food, by far more affordable hotels than many regional countries, visitors get to stroll along a UNESCO heritage city, real jungle tracking and not man-made safaris, beach activities on real natural beaches, sufficient shopping frenzy and a whole lot more.

When it comes to property ownership, I do not think many foreigners can enjoy the sunrise from a freehold condominium (with same protection as a local buyer and generally few restrictions) overlooking the sea or the beach in many other regional countries too. Let’s be extremely objective and give the right information and the positive outlook to the world. To the media, if you intend to help Penang, stop writing articles as if everything must be politically related or sensationalized with a ‘useless’ article title and it would really help Penang a lot more. I think I love Penang more than you. Happy visiting Penang for all the right stuffs, ok? My next trip is on 12th March 2016.

written on 15 Feb 2016

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