By V. Sivaji
The Penang State Government is urging the federal government to continue its aid to the tourism industry in view of the current “recovery” phase.
Penang State Exco for Tourism and Creative Economy YB Yeoh Soon Hin described that the industry is still “not out of the woods yet” and that the sector is just trying to recover from the aftermath of the pandemic and entering the endemic phase.
“Following the reopening of the international borders, we hope that the federal government can support the tourism industry for another six months to one year.
“It is still too early for the stakeholders to bounce back so soon,” said Yeoh during the launching of the Expo Jom Cari Kerja at the Ixora Hotel in Seberang Perai.
Lending support was PCEB CEO, Ashwin Gunasekeran, MOTAC Penang Director, Jonathan Freddy Bagang, MAH Penang Chapter vice chairman Kevin Cheah, Ch’ng Huck Theng ATAP chairman and Penang Tourism Malaysia Deputy Director Siti Hajar.
The Expo hosts about 33 booths representing the various hotels, theme parks and related industries looking for workers.
This is the second leg of the expo with the first held last week at the St Giles Wembley.
Yeoh added that the Expo offers many unique prospects to connect employment seekers with possible employers, whom are prestigious and well-established in Penang.
“Penang must re-engineer and re-calibrate our strategy to address the rising shortcomings and challenges as Malaysia ushers in economic revival with reopening of the border. My recent discussions with industry players revealed that there is a significant amount of shortage of labor handling a big volume of travellers. We are expecting a spike of inflows of visitors after our international borders have opened which will be seen as a challenge for all industry, especially tourism and hospitality industry, ” he said.
The Penang Career Expo is supported by the Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau (PCEB), the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), the Association of ACTA Tourism Penang (ATAP), Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) and the Malaysian Association of Theme Parks and Family Attractions (MATFA).
In another development, the Penang Bon Odori Festival is back to an in-person celebration with a bigger than better line-up of fun, food and activities.
For the past two years, Bon Odori Festival was called off due to the uncertainties of the pandemic, however in tune with an endemic mindset, Penang is ready to bring back Bon Odori on July 30th (Saturday) at Penang Esplanade.
After meeting with the Consul General of Japan in Penang and Bon Odori’s committee, Yeoh announced that it is the right thing to do to let this momentous annual festival- Bon Odori return this year since our international borders have reopened on April 1st.
This is about the symbol of continuous bilateral friendship between Penang state and Japan, fostering cultural relationship, understanding and learning about each other’s culture,’ he said adding that back in 2019, close to 80,000 people have attended and hope to see more people this year.