Penang is likely to set up a state convention bureau by the end of 2014, but this is subject to the hiring of a consultant to start work in August on its structure and funding.
If all goes well, this will be almost two years since the Penang chief minister, Lim Guan Eng, mooted the idea in January 2013. The convention bureau is to be known as Penang International Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PICEB).
Plans now hinge on getting the approval of the chief minister and the
board of directors of Penang Global Tourism to hire a consultant who
will be tasked with drawing up a structure and a sustainable funding
model for the bureau to fund its team as well as marketing and
promotions, and to support the travel trade in bidding for business
events to Penang.
The state government will not provide financial assistance to the bureau but will support it by other means.
Ooi Geok Ling, managing director of Penang Global Tourism, said the
delay in setting up the bureau was because the pro-tem committee,
comprising local private players in the MICE industry, and the
government could not agree on a sustainable funding model for PICEB.
“The hotel room levy in Penang will be taken under consideration for the funding structure of PICEB,” said Ooi. The state government will be collecting RM2 (US$0.62) levy per room,
per night on three star hotels and below, while a RM3 levy is charged on
four-and five-star hotels.