GEORGE TOWN, Jan 11 -- Upgrading works at the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) to accommodate larger vessels will commence in April, says Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
He said according to a report issued by the Cruise Liners International Association last year, Penang was Malaysia’s top cruise destination, beating Port Klang, Langkawi and Melaka.
Lim said he was made to understand that one of the ways to attract more tourists to Penang is phase one of the SPCT redevelopment, which involves extending the existing 400-metre berth and improvement of all infrastructure.
"The cost will be borne by the private sector comprising not just PPSB (Penang Port Sdn Bhd) but also Royal Caribbean, with the first phase to cost RM150 million and construction works taking 24 to 36 months to complete," he said after making an official visit to SPCT here today.
He said the completion of the first phase will enable SPCT to handle three million passengers a year and simultaneously accommodate two mega-sized cruise ships carrying.
Lim, who is also Air Putih state assemblyman, said three more phases costing RM350 million will follow phase one in the effort to grow Penang’s cruise tourism industry.
SPCT will also feature two duty-free shops that will begin operations in a few months’ time, he added.
"We hope with the new Penang Port Commission leadership and encouragement from the federal government, we will see renewal and change in the development of Swettenham Pier," he added.