Hong Kong-Penang direct flight resumes

After 14 years, AirAsia has resumed the Penang-Hong Kong route.

AirAsia AK2280 landed at Penang International Airport and was greeted with water showers.

The VIPs who greeted the passengers included Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Khairul Fidouss Akbar Khan, then Penang Tourism and Creative Economy Council Chairman Yang Shunxing, and Chinese Consul General in Penang Ding Qiao.

Michelle Yeoh, who has since been nominated to take over as chairman of the Penang Port Committee, is happy with the direct flight.

“Hong Kong has long been a center for business and innovation.

“It’s also an important gateway to the vast mainland,” he said, adding that his team advertises attractions in Penang on Hong Kong’s iconic trams to attract people there.

The Pearl reported that for the past five years, Michelle Yeoh has been working on establishing direct air links between Penang and major cities around the world.

Cities identified for direct flights include Abu Dhabi and Dubai (UAE), Doha (Qatar), Chennai and Mumbai (India), Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing and Chengdu (China), Tokyo (Japan), Seoul (South Korea) , Istanbul (Turkey) and Sydney (Australia).

Khairul, while reading out the speech of Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Teo King Sing, said Malaysia is targeting 15.6 million tourists and RM47.6 billion in tourism receipts this year.

He added that Malaysia aims to attract 5 million Chinese tourists.

Initiatives planned by Tourism Malaysia include visiting first- and second-tier cities in China, signing cooperation agreements with large Chinese tourism companies, and participating in trade and consumer exhibitions in China.

“Malaysia’s tourism industry contributes close to 15 percent of its gross domestic product, and air transport is certainly a key component,” Khairul said.

Others present at the event included Dato’ Abdul Aziz Bakar, Non-Executive Director of Capital A, Wong Chok Yan, Chief Executive Officer of Penang Global Tourism, Dato’ Dr. Director Manoharan Periasamy, Tourism Malaysia Northern Region Director Shahrul Aman and AirAsia Northern Region Director Kenneth Tan.

Passengers are warmly welcomed by a traditional dance troupe.

Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam are popular destinations for Chinese tourists, Ding said.

She said that in the first half of this year, the total number of outbound tourists from mainland China (including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) reached 40.37 million.

That means about 8 million people took international flights.

“Malaysia has rich and diversified tourism resources and has long been favored by Chinese tourists,” Ding said.

“With 7.4 million residents of different nationalities, Hong Kong is an important distribution center and transit point for Chinese tourists traveling to neighboring countries such as Malaysia.

“AirAsia’s resumption of flights from Hong Kong to Penang will greatly facilitate personnel exchanges and promote cooperation in various fields such as business and tourism.”

AirAsia now operates three weekly flights between Hong Kong and Penang.

Besides Hong Kong, the airline also offers direct flights from Penang to Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Surabaya, Jakarta, Medan and Singapore.

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