Tour agencies gearing up for school holidays

Koh Yock Heng

WITH school holidays coming up next month, tour agencies are getting many enquiries on travel packages and itineraries from holidaymakers.
Apple Vacations group managing director Datuk Seri Koh Yock Heng said despite the sluggish economy, people are still willing to spend money on domestic or overseas travel.
"Now with the Covid-19 pandemic no longer a health issue, many people prefer to cherish the moment and live in the present.
"School holidays are normally a peak season. So I suggest to plan and make bookings earlier to get a good deal, discount and bargain.
"If you wait till the last minute, you may end up not getting what you want as most travel packages, rooms and dining deals are snapped up or have become more expensive," he said.
Koh said over the past week, they have been receiving many calls on “Sakura viewing" in Japan.
"Due to changing weather patterns, Sakura's full bloom this year is late in most areas in Japan.
"It is still the right time to enjoy cherry blossom in the northern area of Japan such as Hokkaido," he said, adding that interest to visit places in China was also strong due to the visa-free arrangement.
"Besides, social media is very strong on promoting China through Facebook and Tik Tok."
He also said with the Japanese yen now much lower by some 15% compared to the last few years, Japan is still one of the most popular destinations for Malaysians, especially those who love shopping.
Koh, who is also Malaysia Cruise Industry Association president, said cruising is also gaining traction and captivating travellers due to its new holiday concept, leisure-focused experiences, the convenience of not checking in and out every day, and good value for money.
Among them are Resorts World Cruises and Royal Caribbean, as well as international options such as Princess Cruises for Alaska tour packages and Peace Boat for global excursions.
“There is a wide variety of theme park and entertainment activities on board, international food choices and daily excursions. It is suitable for couples on their honeymoon and offers more human interaction.
"Additionally, the emerging trend of fly-cruise packages is appealing to holidaygoers looking for seamless connectivity and convenient booking options," he said, adding there is a growing demand for high-end international cruises among the high-income group.
Recently, Apple Vacations and Malaysia Airlines Bhd signed a memorandum of understanding on Commercial Partnership and Business Cooperation with Peace Boat, Princess Cruises, Resorts World Cruises and Uniworld River Cruises with an aim to explore mutually beneficial commercial and marketing opportunities, specifically targeting passengers travelling for cruise vacations.
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