GEORGE TOWN: Penang is seeing swift recovery in its tourism sector with a sharp rise in direct international flights and arrival of passengers last year.

State Tourism and Creative Economy Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said the number of international direct flights had increased from 10 weekly flights in November 2021 to 184 weekly flights in December last year, an increase of 1,740 per cent.

He said the arrival of international passengers also rose from 7,367 for the year 2021 to 629,476 last year, making it a significant increase of 8,445 per cent.

He added that the number of passengers movement at the Penang International Airport (PIA) for both arrival and departure of domestic and international passengers too had grown by 681 per cent last year compared to the year 2021.

The number of passenger movements last year was 4,242,997 compared to 543,519 in 2021.

"The recovery rate is extremely fulfilling when we compare the current numbers to 2019, which is the pre-Covid-19 pandemic year.

"The total passenger movement at PIA last year reached 4,242,997 compared to 8,331,048 in the year 2019, making it a solid 50.93 per cent recovery rate when the borders were opened for only nine months last year.

"The flight frequency has also shown a positive and confident recovery rate where we welcomed a total of 184 international flights in December last year as compared to 286 international flights in July 2019, generating a 64.34 per cent recovery rate.

"These numbers are rock-hard proof and a proud outcome of our unremitting efforts and initiatives where the recovery is progressing on an unyielding motion even when most of the Asia countries have only loosened up their borders in the fourth quarter of last year," he told newsmen here today to announce the swift recovery for Penang tourism.

Yeoh said with the recent announcement of China reopening its international borders, he was certain that Penang would once again welcome the influx of tourists returning to the state to get the taste of the new Penang as the result of unceasing efforts in promotion and publicity despite the pandemic-induced challenges faced.

"We are looking forward to welcoming the first direct flight from Guangzhou, China to Penang on March 1.

"With more direct flights coming into Penang, we are looking forward to more encouraging figures this year," he added.

Meanwhile, Yeoh said Penang would not be satisfied with the encouraging figures this year and would work hard to get tourists from other parts of the world to Penang.

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

2023-02-08T09:22:59Z dg43tfdfdgfd