Hotel bookings picking up again

Vacation mode: Local tourists checking in at a hotel in Petaling Jaya. Hotels across the country are getting a boost in bookings for the Christmas and New Year holidays. — GLENN GUAN/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Hotel bookings are gradually picking up at popular tourist destinations for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

However, bookings in city areas in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor remain low, say industry players.

Malaysian Association of Hotels chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said bookings were on the rise, mostly at resort hotels in beach and island areas, with hotel bookings in Kuala Lumpur remaining low.

“For the December average, (occupancy rates) will likely be about 30% for the country, with the last week of December likely reaching 50-60%, ” said Yap, who noted that the current uptake was merely driven by the holiday season and not the tourism sector’s recovery.

Malaysia Budget Hotel Association president Emmy Suraya Hussein said there was an increase in occupancy rates in Kedah, Terengganu and Kota Baru.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said there was higher utilisation of transportation and tours, especially in Langkawi, Penang, Ipoh, Melaka and Port Dickson.“Selangor and Kuala Lumpur are also expected to do better in the accommodation and retail segment.

“But Sabah and Sarawak are losing out due to travel restrictions and Covid-19 testing, ” he said.

Sarawak Tourism Federation chief operating officer Franklin Simon said business was “still low” in the state.

“The main focus now for most, if not all, tourism players is to survive instead of making profit, ” he said, adding that as hotels in the state had become quarantine hotels,

they were not allowed to receive guests.

“In Kuching, almost all hotels have been designated as quarantine hotels.

“The good news is that since Sarawak only has two districts that are yellow zones now, with the others all green, people are more confident to travel within the state.

“We have seen a positive increase in sales for the Sia Sitok Sarawak initiative after Kuching’s conditional MCO was lifted, ” he said.

The Sia Sitok Sarawak initiative is an intra-state travel package that aims to get Sarawakians to experience its own tourism products at a 50% discount.

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