GEORGE TOWN: The tourism industry is expected to speed up its recovery as more countries reopen their borders by the end of the year.
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Penang Chapter deputy chairman Carolyn Leong said outbound tours were slowly spiking as more countries end restrictions and flight tickets become more affordable.
“Australia will be among the popular destinations, especially Perth on the western coast.
“It only takes a five-hour flight to the city.
“ Besides the many attractions in Perth, there are also plenty of Muslim-friendly food outlets and facilities.
“We are also seeing a high demand for year-end travel packages to South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand,” she said yesterday.
Leong said domestically, tourism players in Sabah and Sarawak have been giving good feedback.
“We’ve recorded an almost 300% increase in sales in recent months to Sabah and Sarawak.
“Many people want to travel and experience new sights without forking out too much money and time.
“Hopefully, as more countries such as China reopen their borders and ease travel restrictions, there will be a bigger flow of travellers by year end,” she said.
MATTA in Penang, added Leong, would be organising a fair on Aug 20 and 21 at the SPICE Arena for travel agents to showcase their offerings.
Malaysian Association of Hotels Penang chapter chairman Tony Goh said the state’s hotels were expecting a 10% jump in average occupancy in the second half of this year.
“We recorded an average of 50% occupancy for beach hotels and 45% occupancy for city hotels from January to June.
“From July to December, we expect a 10% increase in both segments or slightly higher if more international tourists start arriving. Bookings are expected to pick up starting next month,” he said.
Goh said at present, most foreign tourists were Singaporeans and Indonesians who came here for their medical treatment.
Hoteliers, he added, were also retraining their staff and trying to cope with increasing operating costs.
“Operational cost has increased as more staff are hired and offered higher salaries.
“Most hotels are trying to ensure that they do not operate at a loss. While new staff are being trained, keeping the occupancy rate at a moderate level ensures that the hotels are able to deliver services that are of the highest quality.”