Penang leverages extra Qatar flights to boost MICE

Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) is leveraging Qatar Airways’ flights four times weekly from Doha to augment its efforts in pitching for more corporate and association meetings.

Ashwin Gunasekeran, ceo of PCEB said: “Europe, the US and India will be Penang’s focus markets for 2019, although other Asian short haul source markets will continue to be on the radar, to drive year-round events. PCEB aims to take up a bigger pavilion at The Meetings Show in the UK in June 2019, encouraged by the positive response from buyers in 2018.

Gunasekeran elaborated that the Penang government has asked PCEB to focus on developing the Indian market in 2019 for corporate incentives and conferences. In taking the initiative to penetrate the India MICE market further, PCEB will organise a roadshow to four cities in India – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Ahmadabad – in addition to educational trips for media and outbound meeting planners from India.

Rohit Mishra, senior project manager at Malaysian PCO Anderes Fourdy, said: “India is a vast and diverse country. It’s great that PCEB is visiting the north, south and western central parts of India because the needs of conference delegates are different. Penang also has many local medical associations and this may attract medical and pharmaceutical conferences from India.”

Added air connectivity between Malaysia and India with IndiGo Airlines’ new services from Bengaluru and Delhi in November will help the marketing effort. Malindo Air is also assessing the possibility of starting direct flights between Delhi and Langkawi in 1Q2019.

Gunasekeran said: “The UK is not a new market for us as we have historical ties with the British who are also familiar with brand Penang. What we intend to do is to showcase our world class meetings facilities and to shout out to the market that while we may be an emerging destination, our capabilities and services are comparable with capital cities in this region. As well, we have the Penang Factor, which is the authentic experiences, rich history and cultural heritage that delegates may not find in a capital city.” PCEB will use the same destination marketing model at IMEX America 2019.