Hike in hotel rates likely

Hotels in Johor have increased room rates from between 20% and 30% in the middle of last year, following an increase in electricity tariffs. — Filepic

GUESTS can expect a moderate increase in hotel room rates beginning Friday, with the hike in the sale and service tax (SST) from 6% to 8%.

Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Johor Chapter chairman Ivan Teo said its members had increased hotel room rates from between 20% and 30% in the middle of last year, following an increase in electricity tariffs.

“We want to focus on how to increase the occupancy rates for hotels especially in Johor Baru during weekdays and non-peak periods,” he said.

Teo said hotels had good occupancy on weekends, long public holidays and school breaks.

He said he did not foresee any problems with the increase in the room rates especially for guests from Singapore, China, Thailand and Vietnam.

However, Teo said hotel operators might have difficulty explaining this to Indonesian guests due to the rupiah-ringgit exchange rate.

He said Singaporeans still made the bulk of hotel guests who perceive the room rates to be cheaper due to the favourable exchange rate.

Teo said the number of South Koreans staying in hotels in Johor Baru and Iskandar Malaysia was also showing an upward trend, especially golfers and those wanting to escape the harsh winter.

“We have South Korean and mainland China guests who enrol in short-term English language courses and those seeking medical treatment at private hospitals here,” he said.

Teo said there were 90 three-, four- and five-star hotels in Johor.

Lotus Desaru Resort chief executive officer R. Indra Ghandi said room rates would not be increased but would include the SST starting Friday.

“We have been charging nett rates for our hotel rooms. Consumers are price sensitive so they will react if we were to increase our rates.”

Indra said she did not see any problems with the inclusion of the SST, as 50% of the hotel’s guests were Singaporeans with strong purchasing power.

She proposed that the government offer visa-free entry to tourists from countries other than China and India.

Indra also hopid that Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, who has taken over the tourism portfolio, would organise road shows to attract more visitors from South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and India.

“There are 300 million in India categorised as the middle-income group. It is a huge market if we can attract them to visit Johor,” she said.

Katerina Hotel Batu Pahat operations manager Mariam Mohd said there would be a minimal increase in room rates next month.

“We are finalising details and the increase is largely dependent on the packages.”

Mariam said hotels in districts outside Johor Baru such as Batu Pahat relied on guests visiting their hometowns and relatives.

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Hotels , SST , Room rates , Hotel guests , Room occupancy


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