It was a memorable occasion indeed when Wilma Budke, the long-stay guest of Golden Sands Resort, met with the Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng. Wilma, 85, who is a native of Osnabrück, Germany, has been visiting Penang since 1978, staying only at Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa and sister property, Golden Sands Resort. The annual holiday visits started with her husband Frederic Budke almost 35 years ago. Wilma, who is a widow, decided to continue the tradition even after Mr. Budke’s demise in 1997. Wilma commemorates 5,000 room nights in Penang as May 9, 2013.
This special tea meeting was initiated by Ooi Geok Ling, Managing Director of Penang Global Tourism, who also helped to arrange the extension of Wilma’s tourist visa in April in order to mark this milestone.
Also present was Keith Tomkies, the General Manager of Golden Sands Resort. “Five thousand room nights is an astounding milestone. As part of the Shangri-La nature of embracing a stranger as one’s own, Wilma is no stranger at our resort. She is surrounded by her “family”, and our resort staff and even the children of our staff refer to her as “‘mama”. “We like to create special touches for Wilma during her milestone stays and birthdays. We truly value her friendship and her loyalty to the Shangri-La family. She is our Shangri-La ambassador,” said Keith Tomkies, General Manager of Golden Sands Resort, Penang.
What makes Wilma return to Penang each time? “Friendly Penangites, great food and fine weather,” said Wilma when she was asked.