The Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) launched its second sales mission to Mumbai this morning at the ITC Grand Central as part of the second edition of its Penang Sales Mission to India. Beginning the mission in Chennai on 7 Jan, the Penang delegation hit Ahmedabad on 9 Jan and will continue on to New Delhi on 14 Jan with the objective of promoting Penang as the preferred destination for corporate and association meetings, conferences, and incentives, and leisure travel.
Led by Ashwin Gunasekeran, Chief Executive Officer of PCEB, the mission is supported by a Penang delegation of 12 partners, including hotels, destination management companies, attractions and theme park, professional conference organisers, event experts, and PCEB’s strategic airline partner, Malaysia Airlines. Capitalising on Penang’s rising popularity in India, the Penang Sales Mission to India will host, in each of the four cities it is visiting, a B2B engagement session with participating Business Events and leisure travel buyers from India as well as a media session with the local Indian and Business Events media.
“India is one of the top five markets for Business Events in Penang, and over the past year, we have received encouraging interest from event planners and conference organisers,” says Ashwin Gunasekeran, the Chief Executive Officer of PCEB.
Capitalising on Penang’s rising popularity in India, the Penang Sales Mission to India will host, in each of the four cities it is visiting, a B2B engagement session with participating Business Events and leisure travel buyers from India as well as a media session with the local Indian and Business Events media. Penang’s state executive councillor for Tourism Development, Heritage, Arts & Culture, the Honourable Mr Yeoh Soon Hin will be attending the New Delhi leg where he will be having official meetings with tourism authorities and key players in India.
“This mission is joined by some of Penang’s finest offerings in the hospitality, travel and events sectors, and will showcase the best of what Penang can offer to the Indian market,” he added.
Penang is a world-class travel destination, one that is famed for its unique offerings of a modern international island city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lush rainforests, beautiful hill station, shopping galore and fabulous food. Additionally, this Northern Malaysian state is also a rising Business Events destination. Currently, Penang is the top-ranked second-tier destination in Malaysia in the ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association).
In 2017, 13% of Business Events of Asia Pacific origin was from India, contributing RM190 mil or USD 46 million. In 2018, Penang’s largest Business Event – V Con 2018– which saw a participation of 16,000 delegates from around the world reported that 80% of their delegates were from India. The number of Indian travellers flying in to Penang has also increased in recent years. The Penang Immigration Department reported that for the period between Jan to Nov 2018, 7,250 Indian travellers flew into the Penang International Airport, compared to 6,569 in the same period in 2017. The 10.37% increase came despite there not being direct flights between Penang and India.
To further attract the Indian outbound meetings and conference market, PCEB introduced a new support package specially tailored for India. The support packages start from as low as sponsorship of souvenirs and welcome luncheon for the organisers valued at RM2,000 (for confirmed meetings/conferences of 50 to 100 delegates) to hosted site inspections, welcome luncheon for organisers, cultural performances and souvenirs valued at RM15,000 (for incentive groups of 501 delegates and above. Given the encouraging media coverage of the Penang Sales Mission to India last year, PCEB is also announced that it is running the #BusinessEventsPenang Media Award for India 2019. The award – four full expense paid trip inclusive of flights to Penang for 5D4N to attend PCEB’s BE @ Penang 2019 conference and the media familiarisation tour from 4th to 8th Dec 2019.
Journalists and writers interested in vying for this award must submit the published article or news coverage on the Penang Sales Mission to India 2019 to PCEB by 28th March 2019. Should the submission be in a language other than English, the English translation must be provided. A panel of judges will judge the best reporting for each city, and the announcement of the winner will be made by the end of April 2019. In the past year, PCEB has heavily invested in marketing Penang to India, as the potential for growth from the Indian market is vast. Besides the Penang Sales Mission to India 2018 which saw PCEB leading 17 partners to Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, PCEB also joined the Global Panorama Showcase on its 8-city roadshow in 2018.
PCEB won the bid to host Global Panorama Showcase’s EDWIN Educational Programme, the first time the leading Indian travel product brought its programme to Malaysia. This saw PCEB hosting 120 Indian buyers at the inaugural Penang International Travel Exchange (PITE) 2018 from 4 – 8 September 2018.