JOHOR BARU: Hotel rooms in the city are quickly filling up for the annual Chingay Festival.
Falling on March 8, the 148-year-old festival – expected to be graced by the Johor Sultan for the third consecutive year – will close this year’s Chinese New Year celebration.
Amari Hotel Johor Baru public relations and communications director S. Bobby said most of its 242 rooms had been booked for the Chingay period.
“People are very much in the Chinese New Year mood as bookings continue to increase for Chingay.
“With Amari located in the heart of town and just opposite the area where the main stage will be set up, visitors have been snapping up our rooms,” she said yesterday.
Renaissance Hotel Johor Baru sales and marketing director Lanise Loo said bookings were currently at more than 70% for that week.
She expects the hotel to reach full capacity as the date approaches.
“Room bookings for Chinese New Year and Chingay started pouring in since last month. We have both foreign and local travellers coming in,” she said.
Mutiara Hotel Johor Baru marketing and communications manager Lily Tham said the occupancy rate is likely to exceed 70% during Chingay.
“We are expecting corporate local guests as well as Singaporean families because the republic’s school holidays start on March 10,” she said.
Meanwhile, Chingay Festival organising committee adviser Yap Yeen Min said some 400,000 visitors and participants would be joining in the celebration, held yearly on the 21st day of the Lunar New Year.
“According to our tradition, deities from the five main clans in Johor – Hakka, Teochew, Hokkien, Cantonese and Hainanese – will be taken on a 7.8km tour on foot to bless the city and its people,” he said.
Organised annually by the Johor Ancient Temple, the festival starts with a symbolic lighting ceremony of fireworks on the night of the 18th day of the Lunar New Year.