Privilege Penang launched with alliance of 11 business partners

A new initiative called Privilege Penang was launched at The Meetings Show, a programme especially designed for the business events industry with a raft of discounts to tempt event planners to the Pearl of the Orient.

The package is supported by partners including Malaysia Airlines, which is offering discounted rates and complimentary tickets for marketing purposes or site inspection trips. There are also discounted rates to fly in speakers and hosted buyers.

Other business partners include Hotel Equatorial and Doubletree Resort by Hilton.

Destination management companies (DMC) also on board include Tour & Incentive Travel, Destination Asia Events and Gochecorp. Christina Lam, managing director of Exotic Escapes, which organises incentive packages, was at The Meetings Show to discuss with UK event buyers the opportunities afforded by Penang. She says many are predominantly interested in incentives.

The Habitat in Penang Hill, offers incentive tours of the 130-million-year-old rainforest, with discounts of 30 per cent off the published rates for a range of post-event activities.

The island in northern Malaysia is small but packs a punch, hosting more than 200 international meetings with 106,265 delegates from all over the world in 2018.

In conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2020 and the Experience Penang Year 2020 campaigns, PCEB and Business Events Penang will be launching the Penang 2020: Be Unfiltered campaign.

The colonial connection with the UK is seen as a positive for UK event buyers, Ashwin Gunasekeran, CEO of the Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau says. Penang was a British Crown colony from 1946 to 1957.

British buyers are interested in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town, says Gunasekeran, which is the location of the Governor’s compound and the site of Fort George, with the original canons that were used in the fortification.

“Next year is very important for us. We are forming an alliance with partners and coming together to create Privilege Penang for the business events industry,” Gunasekeran told M&IT. “We are working with Malaysia Airlines who have a promo code for event buyers with cheaper pricing and longer stays.”

Penang is the host city for the inaugural ICCA Asia Pacific Chapter Summit 2019, to be held from December 5-6, 2019. It will take place at Setia SPICE Convention Centre, the world’s first hybrid solar-powered convention centre.

“Sustainability is important for us,” Gunasekeran says. The registration fee for ICCA Asia Pacific members is set at US$350, with $5 from each registration going to the Penang Turtle Cares programme.

“The combination of the ICCA AP Summit being held in Penang together with BE @ Penang is a great correlation to further educate and encourage the strong bond within the business events industry. This successful initiative was supported by all ICCA Malaysia members who shared our vision: To create an important benchmark for the summit to achieve its objectives.”