Qatar Airways’ new thrice-weekly flights between Doha and Penang, commencing February 6, 2018, are spurring hopes among Malaysian business events specialists of stronger European traffic to the island.
The new service will be the first longhaul flight to Penang, an island destination that gets mostly air connections with regional destinations in South-east Asia and North Asia.
Yap Sook Ling, managing director, Asian Overland Services Tours & Travel told TTGmice that the flights will “provide an opportunity to promote Penang for business events and to attract more international conferences”.
Arokia Das, senior manager at Luxury Tours Malaysia, agreed: “Penang is relatively new to the business events scene. Corporates and associations intending to have their event in South-east Asia will see Penang as a fresh option (due to the improved access).”
And because “Qatar Airways has a solid reputation and airfares are reasonable”, Arokia thinks it will be easier now to sell Penang to the European market.
Diethelm Travel Malaysia’s managing director, Manfred Kurz, believes that the new flights are “perfect” for promoting the northern region of Malaysia, where Penang is, to the Europeans. Popular destinations in the north include Langkawi, Kedah, and the Belum Temenggor Forest Reserve in Perak state.
Joe Calstas, director general, board member at the Institute of Journalism and Communication based in Geneva, Switzerland, said: “We are considering holding seminars related to journalism in Penang, and improved longhaul connectivity will certainly help.
“We will be meeting with the Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau at ITB Asia to know more about the offerings in the state.”
Calstas shared that most of those attending his association’s events in Asia are Europeans.