Is Penang’s tourism on the right track?


Attracting visitors while preserving the often fragile and unique heritage of a place is never easy, but it is a challenge that must be faced.

The messages started flying on social media in early July. The word was that some 4,000 tourists from China were arriving for a company holiday in Penang – a victory for the state’s tourism industry.

The messages listed popular attractions that the visitors would visit, along with warnings to steer clear of certain roads on certain days. As one would expect, few of the widely-shared notices were completely accurate. Four thousand Chinese tourists did indeed visit the state, but they came in batches over the first two weeks of the month. Their visits to tourist sites and popular eateries were also staggered, so fears that the Penang Botanic Gardens would suddenly be overrun with 4,000 new joggers went unfounded.

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