PCEB ramps up longhaul market courtship on back of added airlift


Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) is leveraging increased services by Qatar Airways from Doha to intensify its efforts in attracting more corporate and association meetings from the UK as well as the US.

Qatar Airways started its three weekly services in February 2018, prompting strong hopes of business boost by business event players. The airline went on to raise frequencies to four times weekly on July 1.


PCEB CEO Ashwin Gunasekeran, said Europe, the US and India will be the bureau’s focus markets for 2019, although regional source markets will continue to get marketing attention to drive year-round traffic.

He shared that in 2019, PCEB will take up a bigger pavilion at The Meetings Show in the UK in June, due to good response from buyers this year when the bureau participated for the first time together with suppliers from Penang.

“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,” said Ashwin.

“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 replicate this destination marketing model at IMEX America 2019.

Ashwin also told TTGmice that the state government has asked PCEB to take the lead in developing the Indian market in 2019 for corporate incentives and conferences. Thus, next month, PCEB will organise a second roadshow series to India, to the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Ahmadabad, as well as regular familiarisation trips for media and agents from India.

Commenting on PCEB’s India plans, Rohit Mishra, senior project manager at 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.”

PCEB’s roadshow is timely, considering improved air connectivity between Malaysia and India with IndiGo Airlines’ new services from Bengaluru and Delhi in November. Malindo Air is also studying the possibility of starting direct flights between Delhi and Langkawi in 1Q2019.

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