KUALA LUMPUR: Hoteliers are hoping for an improved occupancy rate by end of the year although they concede that it would be tough to regain consumer confidence.
They are working towards recovering their losses through various holiday packages targeting domestic travellers.
It was difficult to win back consumer confidence after the SARS outbreak but hoteliers were working together on promotions, said Malaysian Association of Hotels president Mohd Ilyas Zainol Abidin.
For example, hotels were recording about 40% occupancy rate compared to over 60% in the same period last year.
To get back to an 80 to 90% rate is not easy but we hope to achieve it by the end of the year, he said in an interview after the associations annual general meeting at the Palace of Golden Horses on Wednesday.
Mohd Ilyas said cutting down room rates would not help boost sales as it would only dilute the market.
If you put some interesting packages where your usual businessmen clients may not attend, you can take advantage of other groups, like the local tourists, he said.
He said hoteliers were co-operating with agencies such as Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents and Tourism Malaysia to encourage Malaysians to travel locally.
Malaysians are beginning to realise that there are beautiful local tourist attractions.
On the stimulus package, Mohd Ilyas said it would help generate domestic spending but hoteliers must not sit back and wait for things to happen.
We have to continuously promote the countrys attractions and also the fact that Malaysia is safe and free from SARS, he said.
In another development, response to the newly introduced domestic tour packages has been encouraging with at least 500 confirmed bookings to several destinations in the past week.
A spokesperson for Malaysia Airlines Golden Holidays said the most sought after destinations were Langkawi, Pulau Redang, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.
Its a value for money offer, comprising hotel accommodation with breakfast, return economy class airfares, airport transfers, and half-day city tours where applicable.
The Golden Holidays Great Getaways packages, launched on May 28, are offered at discounted prices of between 35% and 40%.
For information, contact the nearest travel agent or Malaysia Airlines at 1 300 88 3000.
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