Tourism Penang: What happened there?

I recently posted a comment in a Penang MP's blog but somehow my 2 cents' worth of thoughts did not appear. Well, I've got a community blogsite haven't I. So here goes.

What's my authority in commenting on tourism matters in Penang you may ask- well, yours truly help ran a 5-star international hotel there for a couple of years and was deeply concerned on the declining state of tourism in Penang. Most of the factors affecting the subject matter of concern are actually controllable but not actioned upon. I don't care much about the Chief Minister past and present but here are the boo-boo's:

-Dirty streets. This point is controversial- it inclines to say that the public is not civic-conscious but I say the local council did a lousy job in keeping Penang clean. Just take a walk in certain areas in Georgetown or Air Itam, Penang Hill, etc, and you'll see what I mean.

-Related to the above- the lack of public rubbish bins. Rubbish bins are not visible in the city at all even in malls or famous streets- where is the public going to throw thrash?

-Lousy tourism websites. While I was in Penang, I discovered that the 'official' tourism websites weren't updated for at least 2-3 years.

-Failure of the local government to resolve the taxi meter issue. Penang is famous for its exorbitant cab fares and the non-usage of taxi meters. And the taxi drivers are still lobbying for higher taxi fares. We all know the impact of high cab fares to local and foreign tourists don't we.

-Lack of road signs- especially to tourist areas

-Lousy public transport system. What system? If you are living in Penang, it's better to own your own car.

-No major promotions or public events to encourage tourism. I'm talking about events similar to LIMA (in Langkawi), etc and not Penang Bridge Runs nor Dragon Boat events.

-What's happening to food scene? Loosing shine of cause, due to lack of unified promotional efforts at the national level and due to the hawkers themselves. The local government should keep this in check- especially the food serving portions which are getting smaller and smaller.

I'm still visiting Penang of course. If more effort could be put in improving the public amenities and tourism infrastructure, Penang could be a bigger island on the tourism map.

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