After many years of advertising and promotion in Japan,the Japanese have come in droves.
The Penang International Airport arrival hall was abuzz with the sounds of kompang and dancers garbed in traditional gear performing as they welcomed some 380 visitors from Japan.What made their visit to Penang unique was that the Japanese entourage had flown all the way from Hokkaido in a specially chartered flight just for the trip here.
To greet them was state Tourism Development and Culture Commit-tee chairman Danny Law Heng Kiang who said that it was the first time tourists from Japan came to Penang on a chartered flight since 2002.
“This is the largest number of tourists from Japan to Penang arriving on a chartered flight and this is a joint project between JTB Hokkaido Corp and Sunrise Tours & Travel Sdn Bhd,” said Law.
“Penang offers an array of activities for the Japanese who are culture-loving people,” he said.Some 20 retirees from the group have also arranged to take part in Malaysia My Second Home scheme.
One of the members of the group, Matsui Soeda, 49, said it was his first time in Penang and was excited to see the culture and heritage which he read and heard about.
“Friends who visited Penang recommended that I visit this island. What makes it more interesting is that our visit coincides with the Chinese New Year celebration so I have more things to film on my video camera,” he said.
The Japanese market in very lucrative and if we do it right the numbers will come. Well done Penang.