Tourist Arrivals and Hotel Occupancy in Penang

Penang’s total number of hotel guests has steadily hovered at around six million since 2008, except in 2013. As can be seen from Figure 1, nearly half of hotel guests is consistently contributed by foreign guests, with the remaining half by domestic guests.

Penang had the fourth-largest number of hotel guests in 2016 in the country based on the latest figures released by Tourism Malaysia (Table 1). The state attracted about 8.8% or 6.4 million hotel guests, trailing behind KL (22.3%), Pahang (14.2%) and Johor (9.7%).

Penang’s average hotel occupancy rate (AOR) on the other hand depicts an upward trend from January to September 2017. Beach hotels were highly occupied compared to the city hotels; this difference was more prevalent in the first three months of 2017 (Figure 2). Beach hotels had an occupancy rate as high as nearly 70% in February 2017, while the city hotels recorded a rate of 55%.

Tables 2 and 3 respectively show the frequency of direct international and domestic flights in Penang. As of February 2017, Singapore had the highest number of direct international flights flying from/to Penang. As for domestic flights, the route to Subang tops the list, with Malindo Air serving over 100 flights per week.

In terms of passenger movement, the total number of arrival passengers via Penang International Airport (PIA) increased by 8.2% from January to November 2017 compared with the same period in 2016. The influx of travellers through PIA peaked in July, and it is expected to record a higher number in December 2017, which is likely due to the school holidays (Figure 3).

While the majority of passengers arrived from airports in Singapore and Indonesia, passengers arriving from Chinese airports recorded the highest growth rate of 28.2% in January-November 2017 compared to January-November 2016 (Table 4). KL International Airport (KLIA) and Subang, on the other hand, made up the largest number of passenger arrivals, consistent with the flight frequency (Table 5).

Likewise, cruise tourism numbers are also positive. Statistics from Penang Port show that the total number of international cruise arrivals rose by about 51% to 172,438 arrivals in the first half of 2017, corresponding to the same period in 2016. Among the various cruise ships, Super Star Gemini topped the list with 46 ships calling at the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal from January to November 2017 (Table 6).

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