It was a very exciting and memorable day for Tropical Spice Garden (TSG) as we launched our 10th Anniversary month, together with our newly published book Tropical Spice Garden: Asia’s Hidden Eden and the opening of our new trail Beverages of the World.
The event was officiated by the Chief Minister of Penang, YAB Lim Guan Eng (CM) and attended by officials and representatives of the tourism industry in Penang.
The day began with the unveiling of the TSG Rapid Penang bus. Ten representatives and officials – YAB Lim Guan Eng, YB Danny Law (EXCO Tourism, Development & Culture), David & Rebecca Wilkinson (Founders of TSG), Kenneth & Katharine Khoo (Directors of TSG), Lim In Chong (landscape designer for TSG), Ms Ooi Geok Ling (Penang Global Tourism), Ch’ng Huck Teng (Chairman of ATAP), Mary Ann Harris (Chairman of MAH) and Chin Poh Chin (President of PTGA) − boarded the bus in front of Bayview Beach Resort to TSG for the milestone event.
They arrived to the welcoming cheers of staff and guests as well as the chorus of the Spice Girl’s Spice Up Your Life. The entrance was a medley of colours with members of staff decked out in Spice Out! t-shirts and colourful trousers, waving painted signs.
Without further ado, guests were escorted to the Water Garden which for the welcome speeches starting with Katharine Khoo, Managing Director of TSG. “ If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be standing here today addressing all of you here today, I may not have believed you!” she began.
“In the last ten years, visitors and friends of the gardens have described Tropical Spice Garden as a labour of love. If you could see into my minds eye and the memories that are captured within, I can say that this surely is an indisputable fact. Our little pocket of paradise has warmed the heart of each of our team members over the years and each visitor that have walked through our doors.”
The CM who has always shown support for eco-tourism in Penang commended TSG for setting the bar as an internationally renowned eco-attraction on the island. “When TSG opened in 2003 it was a premier attraction in the green lung of Teluk Bahang paying homage to Penang’s natural history and the significance of the spice trade centuries ago. There were not many internationally rated attractions at the time”
Admitting that he took time out of his busy schedule just to attend the event he said, “When the invitation arrived, I said we had to try to fit it in. Because we don’t only want to show support but also to celebrate excellence.” He continued, “TSG is one of those few (attractions) that we can be proud of and have also encouraged others to up their game.”
As part of the 10th Anniversary celebrations, TSG also introduced the newly published Tropical Spice Garden: Asia’s Hidden Eden which charts the inspiration and passion behind TSG. The book, which is available in hardback and paperback is packed with full colour photography, gardening tips, recipes and fascinating tales of spices. “We believe a good thing is meant to be shared,” says Katharine. “We have endeavoured to share a story of the spice heritage of Penang and the great pride we take in being a living testimony to that.”
Following a quick photo session with the VIPs holding copies of the new book, guests were led to the Beverages of the World for the opening ceremony of the new trail. The new section of the garden showcases the three major beverage crops of the world – tea, coffee and cocoa. The CM was invited to symbolically plant a tea sapling as a gesture of the continuous growth and development within the Tropical Spice Garden and Penang.
Tropical Spice Garden holds claim to be the only spice garden of its size and nature in the country. And yet there is still more to be accomplished. Speaking about the future, Katharine says “During Visit Malaysia Year 2014 we intend to announce more children’s related and guided tour related value add-ons. So stay tuned for more to come!”