Maintain promotions, hotels advised


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 10 Jul 2003

BY JANE RITIKOS

KUALA LUMPUR: Hotels have been told to continue giving special packages and reduced rates to attract customers as it will take some time before the industry recovers from the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome impact. 

Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said although the World Health Organisation had declared the world SARS-free, hotels must still make efforts and sacrifices to restore public confidence. 

“Hotels must continue to offer special rates until the sector stabilises and not expect to be on the road of normalcy very fast.  

Since the outbreak, tourism arrivals dropped to between 20% and 30%, he said. 

The response to the packages for foreign tourists offered by hotels and the Malaysia Airlines for example, was not as good as expected,” he said after launching the mobileHOTEL – hotel reservations and inquiries service via SMS – at Pan Pacific Hotel yesterday. 

He also said there was no tourist arrivals target this year due to uncertainties facing the sector, noting that it would be difficult to sustain last year’s tourist arrival of 13.3 million. 

Abdul Kadir said he expected the tourism sector to only pick up after the fourth quarter of the year. 

In his speech, he urged hotels to look into their telephone service using voice recorder systems, pointing out that many customers were irritated by the lengthy hotel promotions they had to put up with before being connected. 

Kadir also said he had been invited to Beijing on July 13 when the Chinese Government would re-launch its tourism effort to allow its citizens to travel to other countries including Malaysia. 

He will also visit Pakistan and Iran next week to promote Malaysia as a new and important market for tourists.  

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