George Town, the capital city of the Malaysian state of Penang, is located at the north-eastern tip of Penang Island. It is Malaysia’s second largest city, with 708,127 inhabitants as of 2010, while Greater Penang is the nation’s second biggest conurbation with a population of 2,412,616. The historical core of George Town has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008.
Established as an entrepôt by Francis Light of the British East India Company in 1786, George Town was the first British settlement in Southeast Asia. Together with Singapore and Malacca, George Town formed part of the Straits Settlements, which became a British crown colony in 1867. It was subjugated by Japan during World War II, before being recaptured by the British at war’s end. Shortly before Malaya attained independence from the British in 1957, George Town was declared a city by Queen Elizabeth II, making it the first city in the country’s modern history.
Due to the intermingling of the various ethnicities and religions that arrived on its shores, George Town acquired a large eclectic assortment of colonial and Asian architectural styles. It also gained a reputation as Malaysia’s gastronomic capital for its distinct and ubiquitous street food. Moreover, the city hosts unique cultural heritage, such as the Peranakans whose legacies are still visible on Penang’s architecture and cuisine.
The city of George Town includes the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone, a high-tech manufacturing hub regarded as the Silicon Valley of the East. The city also serves as the financial centre of northern Malaysia and the nation’s most vital medical tourism hub. Logistically, the Penang International Airport links George Town with several major regional cities, while a ferry service, the Penang Bridge and the Second Penang Bridge connect the city with the rest of Peninsular Malaysia. Meanwhile, George Town’s Swettenham Pier has emerged as the busiest port-of-call in Malaysia for cruise shipping.
George Town has always been one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malaysia. Throughout history, the city has even welcomed some of the most influential personalities, including Somerset Maugham, Rudyard Kipling, Noël Coward, Lee Kuan Yew and Queen Elizabeth II.
In recent years, George Town has received numerous international accolades, further putting the city on the world stage. The city has been listed by various publications, including the Lonely Planet, Forbes and Time, as one of the top travel destinations in Asia. These are in addition to George Town’s reputation as a gastronomic haven, with the CNN placing the city as one of Asia’s best street food cities.
Unlike most other Malaysian cities, George Town does not rely only on air transportation for tourist arrivals. Aside from the Penang International Airport, Swettenham Pier, conveniently located within the city centre, also serves as one of the major tourist entry points into Penang. As of 2017, Penang attracted almost 8.6 million tourists, with the airport posting a record 7.2 million passenger arrivals and the pier registering another 1.35 million tourist arrivals. Within the same year, Penang became the third largest contributor of Malaysia’s tourism tax revenue after Kuala Lumpur and Sabah
Source : wikipedia