JOHOR BARU: The increase in the number of hotels, an abundance of tourism products, and its proximity to Singapore are driving domestic tourists to Johor, say industry players.
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Johor chapter chairman Ivan Teo said Legoland Malaysia Resort (Legoland) in Iskandar Puteri and Desaru Coast in Kota Tinggi have been able to attract thousands of domestic visitors seeking a quick getaway.
“Places like Desaru are also making Johor an ideal holiday destination as it offers an array of five-star hotels and is located along the sea,” he told The Star.
Teo added there has been an increase in the number of hotels in the state in the past few years, with some opening up recently as Johor recovers from Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
“On top of that, the traffic congestion in Johor is not as bad as in other states. While we do have congestion, it is usually not the standstill kind.
“It helps that the popular holiday destinations are spread throughout the state, with some in town, Desaru and Iskandar Puteri,” he said, adding that the depreciation of the ringgit is also driving Malaysians to spend their holidays locally instead of overseas.
Johor Tourist Guides Association president Jimmy Leong Wei Kong said the state’s proximity to Singapore also helps.
“When people travel south to visit Singapore, they tend to spend the night in Johor Baru.
“They may cross the border and spend some time holidaying in the island republic before spending the night in Johor Baru hotels,” he said.
He noted that with the reopening of the border between Johor and Singapore, many Malaysians were also excited to cross over for a holiday or meet family members.
“The rejuvenation of Johor Baru also plays a role as many visitors, especially youngsters, are keen to know more about the cultural and heritage element of the city,” he said.
Legoland Malaysia sales and marketing director M. Thila said the theme park has seen encouraging traffic this year.
“One of the main reasons for Legoland being one of the top holiday destinations in Johor is that it is one of the only theme parks with an international brand in the region.
“It is also a theme park that not only offers fun activities but also provides an educational experience for children and families,” she said, adding that keeping the theme park fresh with new additions and events also helps to attract more visitors.
“We always make sure that there is something new for visitors when they visit Legoland,” she said.