MELAKA: Despite the increase in tourist arrival figures to the historical state, the hotels here are suffering low occupancy.
The state Smart City Advisory Council chairman Khoo Poay Tiong attributed the issue to the increase in accommodation, particularly homestays, and visitors making a day trip to the state.
In 2018, there was a total of 3.13 million paid occupancies in Melaka hotels, comprising 2.15 million domestic tourists and 1.16 million foreigners.
Khoo, who is also MP for Kota Melaka, said the figures recorded in 2017 was significantly higher with 4.79 million paid hotel guests, where 3.08 million were domestic travellers while 1.704 million others were overseas tourists.
But the figures registered for the last two years is not in tandem with the hotel occupancy rates as the official numbers indicated that there were 17 million tourist arrivals in 2018, an increase of over some 200,000 compared to 16.8 million in 2017.
Khoo said Chinese tourists topped the number of visitors to Melaka, contributing 46.2%, followed by Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan.
He said by right the hotels should have benefited from this but the statistics indicated otherwise.
Khoo opined the tourist arrivals are not well spread to encourage these visitors to spend a night in Melaka.
He said the emerging of unregulated Airbnb homes had also caused the hotels to lose business.
“Undeniably, there are also too many hotels in Melaka that had stagnated the sales of rooms,” he said.
Khoo said to encourage the tourists to stay a night, hotels should use new marketing strategies to lure them.
Khoo said his council will invite the stakeholders, especially the Tourism Development Board, to focus on a targeted group.
He also suggested hotels to address these challenge by working closely with the media practitioners and not totally depend on social media to promote their hotels.
“Hotels should also boost their public relations mechanism to work closely with the media by hiring the right communication personnel,” he added.