GEORGE TOWN, March 9 — Penang’s only theme park, Escape, won the Malaysian Tourism Award for Best Tourist Attraction or Theme Park recently.
The park’s Chief Escape Office Sim Choo Kheng said this is the first time that a tourist attraction in Penang was given this prestigious award.
“We are ranked (as the) number one theme park in Malaysia and number one things-to-do in Penang by TripAdvisor,” he said in a press conference at the Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s office in Komtar here.
He said the award is for the Penang state government, as Escape is the chief minister’s 2009 tourism vision fulfilled.
“It was back in 2009 when the chief minister of Penang who foresaw the need for a major tourist attraction to drive the Penang’s tourism industry, called for a tender for the repurposing of PBA’s 44-acre former construction site in Teluk Bahang,” he said.
Sim Leisure won the tender and Escape was established in 2012.
Sim said the site was a “brown field” that they rehabilitated and turned into a theme park.
He attributed the award to their policy of maintaining an international standard for tourism product.
“Our next mission is to evolve Escape into an iconic destination unique only to Penang and my aspiration is to make Escape the number one theme park in Asia,” he said.
He hoped that this will raise the bar of Penang tourism and inspire other tourist attractions in Penang to aim higher and turn the state into a global tourism destination.
He said there is a need for tourist attractions in Penang to have a global mindset and to stay competitive.
“I think it is important to take a bold step to promote Penang as a brand and to promote it on its own and not only be a part of Malaysian tourism,” he said.
Escape now has Adventureplay and the recently launched Waterplay with plans to implement Phase Three underway.
Phase Three — Gravityplay — will include a chairlift uphill for a ride downhill.
“We will be installing the longest slide, 1.2km, all the way down to Waterplay,” he said.
The third phase is scheduled to open by the end of this year.