Brisk business, thanks to super weekend

Bumper to bumper: Traffic at the Johor Causeway yesterday. — THOMAS YONG/The Star

JOHOR BARU: Ka-ching!

“By 3pm, all our buns were gone. And we have sold over 100 banana cakes,” said James Lim, the third generation owner of a bakery here.

He said weekends were usually a busy time for him, what more if there was a holiday.

“It was no exception (yesterday). We had customers walking in since early morning,” said Lim, 42.

The long weekend in Malaysia, coupled with the ongoing school holidays in Singapore, brought a bigger crowd to Johor Baru.

Weekends in Johor fall on Fridays and Saturdays.

So, it is a “super weekend” here after Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar declared Sunday as a public holiday to mark the success of Johor Darul Ta’zim Football Club in advancing to the Malaysia Cup Final.

And tomorrow is a national holiday, as declared by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Checks at the Johor Causeway saw slow moving traffic since yesterday morning with cars entering Johor from Singapore.

Popular eateries in town were packed with barely any empty seats.

S. Sures, who owns a clothing store at Jalan Trus, said that business had been good with many customers from across the border coming here to dine and shop.

“The holidays both in Malaysia and Singapore have helped to boost sales, especially in popular places and malls around Johor Baru,” he said.

“The stronger Singapore dollar compared to the ringgit is the main reason Singaporeans spend their weekends here,” said Sures, 49.

However, he felt there should be more efforts from tourism authorities to host more activities in Johor.

“This will help spur the economy and encourage more people, including (locals) to choose Johor as their holiday destination,” he said.

Malaysian Association of Hotels Johor chapter chairman Ivan Teo said the hotel occupancy rate here was expected to be around 90% this weekend.

“The occupancy rate may not be the same across the board but for hotels (located) in the town area and at popular destinations, we believe it is at least 90%,” he said.

“We anticipate more crowds as we draw closer to Christmas and New Year,” he said.

Johor Baru Business and Hawker Association president Roland Lim said there had been an increase in customers from Singapore after the general election concluded.

School holidays in Singapore started on Nov 19, which was the day Malaysians went to the polls.

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