ENJOYING the ocean breeze while sailing onboard a cruise liner is the preferred vacation choice for many families from Perak during the school holidays.
Keris Travel & Tour Sdn Bhd director Shireen Yeoh said all cruise packages until December had been fully booked, adding that sales of cruises had increased by 10% during the year-end holidays, this year, compared to the same period last year.
“Taking a cruise is considered a leisure trip and it is suitable for both young and old,” she said, adding that the most popular destinations were Penang, and Phuket and Krabi in Thailand.
According to Yeoh, regional cruise tours were popular among middle range income earners because of their affordability.
“Costing about RM1,000 onwards for a four-day, three-night cruise, travellers get to enjoy meals and onboard facilities such as the swimming pool and karaoke lounges while certain packages allow them to shop and go sightseeing on land,” she said.
Concurring with Yeoh, a sales executive of another tour agency on Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil, said the demand for cruises had increased by almost 20% compared to last year.
The sales executive, who only wished to be known as Jenny, said cruises for November and December had all been fully booked even before the end of the school term.
“Many of our customers feel that cruises are relaxing and being on a ship gives them the opportunity to escape life’s daily stress,” she added.
Other than cruises, Jenny said many holidaymakers also liked travelling to East Asian countries such as Taiwan and Hong Kong as there were many shopping centres and places of interest suitable for the entire family.
U’ Vacation Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd managing director Law Weng Sum said younger family members were also deciding factors of where families spend their holidays.
“Some children are influenced by the Taiwanese or Hong Kong drama series that they watch and will tell their parents they want to go there.
“And many parents actually do agree to take their children to these destinations,” he said.
Despite an overall positive market environment, Law said business this school holidays has not been as brisk as they had hoped for.
Law said perhaps some people chose not to travel due to the uncertainty of when the next general election would be.
On the other hand, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents vice-chairman Ng Wi Soo said that it was unlikely for families to sacrifice their holidays just to wait for the elections.
“Nothing will hold them back if they already have the intention to travel.
“I think the country’s precarious state of economy is a more valid factor,” he said.
Tour agencies, he said, should come up with more attractively priced travel packages to attract potential customers in order to remain competitive.
“For instance, they should expand their network with more airline companies and strive to get a lower rate on airfares but to be able to do that, they first need to establish a positive image and a good reputation,” he added.