Hoteliers seek more M’sians


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 06 Sep 2020

Island trip: In this file photo, members of the public are seen adhering to SOP while boarding a Langkawi-bound ferry in Kuala Kedah. — Bernama

PETALING JAYA: The increase in Malaysians holidaying locally is a positive sign with hotels in popular destinations recording a higher occupancy rate.But hotel associations said the situation would not likely return to pre-Covid-19 anytime soon due to the loan moratorium ending this month and restrictions on foreign travellers.

Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners executive director Shaharuddin M Saaid said the recent holiday season only saw an increase in holidaymakers in certain places such as Langkawi and Melaka.

“The rest of the hotels are not enjoying this. We are generally only getting 20% to 30% occupancy rate.

“It is not very encouraging for the hotel business,” he said.

Shaharuddin also expressed his concerns with the recovery movement control order (MCO) extended until the end of the year.

“We now have to revise our plans as international tourists can’t come in yet,” he added.

Malaysian Association of Hotels chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said popular destinations saw a pick-up in hotel occupancy rates, particularly in beach and island destinations such as Langkawi, Redang and Perhentian, as well as Batu Ferringhi in Penang, Port Dickson and Melaka.

“These locations are recording occupancy rates ranging from 50% to 80% on average, higher on weekends and during the recent holiday period.

“While this trend and demand may also pick up in the coming year-end holidays, we need to consider economic pressure on the people,” he added.

Yap said certain destinations dependent on flight arrivals saw lower occupancy rates, citing the Klang Valley, Johor, Kedah, Sabah and Sarawak, and noting that the present hotel occupancy average was about 38.5%.

“Overall, the situation has improved compared to during the MCO. In general, hotels are offering extensive promotions and discounts to attract more guests. Many hotels are offering a lower rate of as much as 70%,” he added.

Malaysia Budget Hotel Association deputy president Sri Ganesh Michiel believed the hotel occupancy rate should not just be looked at during peak periods but on a daily basis.

“Business travellers are the ones that fill the gap during weekdays. We need to encourage them to travel more and stay in hotels,” he said.

Sri Ganesh said budget hotels were also facing problems as they were competing with the four- and five-star hotels.

“It is not really healthy now for the hotel industry,” he added.

Separately, Legoland Malaysia Resort divisional director CS Lim said that since its reopening, a selection of promotions and packages had been drawn up, offering the convenience of an “all-in-one” destination so that holidaymakers could stretch their budget.

“Our promotions come with an extended validity period that is relatively longer than the usual packages.“In addition, guests can be assured of stringent safety and hygiene measures in place the moment they set foot in the resort,” he said, adding that new facilities, processes and manpower had been incorporated in line with the safety protocols and procedures set out by the health authorities.These include measures such as physical distancing, crowd control, limiting capacity to 30% of normal operations, temperature screening and guest registration.

“We hope people will enjoy our flexible offerings and continue the spirit of Cuti Cuti Malaysia to help restore and boost domestic tourism,” he said.

Swiss Garden Beach Resort Kuantan director of sales and marketing Linda Evelyn Wong said they had been receiving a high number of bookings over the long weekend holidays.“We are optimistic the good days will return gradually with many choosing to travel outstation. Many hotels are capitalising on this positive trend by offering value-for-money attractive deals,” she added.

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