As a major commercial gateway to Malaysia, the Klang Valley is enjoying tremendous economic growth.
“Housing Malaysia’s main international gateways – KLIA and Port Klang, one of the world’s busiest container ports and Kuala Lumpur’s main cruise hub – the dynamic Klang Valley is at the very heart of Malaysia’s national economy,” says Ooi Joon Aun, president and managing director of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Southeast Asia and Pacific Rim.
This makes it the perfect place for global brands like Wyndham to set up shop. Wyndham is the world’s largest hotel franchising company, with approximately 9,200 hotels across more than 80 countries.
The brand is set to launch its landmark hotel Wyndham Acmar Klang soon. Located 30 minutes from KL and close to three major highways, the property will be the first upscale international hotel in Klang.
The hotel is expected to appeal to business travellers, meeting planners and leisure guests, as well as be a focal point for conferences and events, providing companies with facilities they need for their events.
This is Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ fifth hotel in Malaysia. The others include Days Hotel & Suites in KL, Ramada Plaza in Melaka, and Ramada by Wyndham Meridin in Johor Bahru.
There are 10 more properties in the pipeline. The chain owns 21 globally established brands, and plans to open hotels under these new brands in Malaysia, such as TRYP by Wyndham, Wyndham, and Dolce by Wyndham.
Ooi believes that the hospitality industry has evolved significantly in the last 20 years. From the introduction of new hotel brands and concepts to digital platforms that offer alternative and unique accommodation options, hoteliers are seeing more competition from traditional and non-traditional players.
Priorities of the 21st-century traveller are also evolving, and there needs to be a seamless customer journey experience, especially on mobile platforms. “The challenge is to ensure our brands and hotels continue to add value to our guest experiences in a digitised market while maintaining that personal touch,” he says.
Ooi is optimistic about the future of the travel and hospitality industry because of the growing group of people who are able to travel, coupled with the increasingly affordability of air travel. He is confident that the industry will continue to grow in the next five years given Malaysia’s proximity to China, the largest source of outbound travellers.
“Tourism in South-East Asia is booming, with the region supporting close to 10% year-on-year growth in international tourist arrivals,” he notes.
“In Malaysia, tourist arrivals and receipts have increased by almost 20% and 70% respectively within the last decade. The first five months of 2019 saw Malaysia’s tourism industry record a positive growth of 4.8%, with Asean countries maintaining the lead as the biggest contributor of international tourist arrivals.”
Malaysia is also establishing itself as a gateway to Asia’s emerging markets. “Malaysia was recently ranked in the Top 10 in Asia for human development and innovation, and globally it is recognised as a top prospective destination for multinational corporations, and the Top 5 most cost-competitive cities,” says Ooi.