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Tuesday, 13 February 2018 | MYT 12:00 AM

Penang port aiming for a million cruise passengers

PENANG Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) aims to increase the number of international cruise arrivals to one million in five years from the 400,000 achieved in 2017.

Its acting chief executive officer Sasedharan Vasudevan said that PPSB was now working with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd to expand the berth to accommodate two mega cruise vessels measuring more than 300m each.

“Currently, the berth is capable of accommodating only one mega cruise and a smaller vessel,” he said during an interview at the ‘The Ways Ahead For Penang’s Tourism’ organised by the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce’s (PCCC) Property Development Construction & Management Committee (PDCMC).

State Tourism Committee chairman Danny Law Heng Kiang was present to launch the event.

“We will increase the size of the cruise terminal to accommodate 12,000 passengers from 8,000 currently.

A filepic of cruise liners berthing at Swettenham Pier in George Town, Penang.
A filepic of cruise liners berthing at Swettenham Pier in George Town, Penang.

“The investment for the expansion is RM155mil,” Sasedharan added.

The expansion exercise should start in the second half of 2018 and is expected to be completed in 24 months.

Sasedharan added that an international cruise passenger would usually spend around US$70-US$80 (RM280-RM320).

“The global average spending is US$150 per person, so there is still a lot of room to grow,” he added.

Meanwhile, PDCMC Tourism & Heritage section head Michael Geh said there should be more flights from destinations that were six hours away by direct flights.

“Research from the National Association of Realtors USA show that most investors of holiday homes prefer to fly only about six hours to the destinations where they have investments.

“If we want to sell more second homes, there should be more direct flights.

“The Federal Government should look into having more direct flights from cities where the population has the disposable income for second home investments,” he said.