Hotels bookings buoyant as year-end break begins

Ready for you: Housekeeping staff cleaning and tidying up a hotel room. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Hotel bookings around the country remain strong ahead of the year-end holiday season.

With the school holidays starting from today until the end of the year, some travel destinations nationwide have seen a high occupancy rate in terms of hotel rooms.

Malaysia Inbound Tourism Association (Mita) president Uzaidi Udanis said he did not receive any complaints from members about cancellations due to the year-end floods.

“Bookings started last week because of the school holidays and one of the most popular products, the cruise, is almost fully booked,” he said.

Uzaidi noted that many have opted to travel within the country with Sabah and Sarawak being favoured among domestic tourists.

This is also evident from the demand for flight tickets, as domestic tourism has revitalised.

He also hoped that the school term would be reverted to what it was before Covid-19.

“It is very difficult for us to plan holiday packages,” he said, adding that nothing much could be done within two weeks.

Uzaidi also hoped that facilities will be improved at tourism hotspots to attract more tourists.

“I hope they will improve the ferry services in Langkawi which is one of the most popular tourist destinations,” he said.

“The schedule from Kuala Perlis to Langkawi will depend on the tide but it has become irregular. This has affected tourism players, especially those who are marketing domestically,” he added.

Local tourism players are also hampered by the shortage of workers despite the high demand.

“The main challenge is we don’t have enough people. The intake of students for tourism and hospitality courses is also low as parents are not encouraging them to take up such courses,” he said.

Malaysia Budget and Business Hotel Association (MyBHA) president Dr Sri Ganesh Michiel said tourist hotspots in Penang, Melaka and Johor recorded an exceptionally good occupancy rate.

“These areas remained the preferred destination for tourists compared with the east coast which were more susceptible to the effects of the northeast monsoon.

“Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang have around 30% occupancy rates despite the school holidays. Some hotels even recorded lower figures,” he told The Star.

Sri Ganesh said the low rate was due to travellers’ concerns about the monsoon season.

The same situation was observed at Cameron Highlands and Fraser’s Hill in Pahang.

“There are still some people who travel there but they would be wary of the weather conditions,” he added.

While some hotels have higher occupancy rates during the holiday season, they might not be able to generate enough income due to special deals and promotions online, as some travellers prefer to book such deals via online travel agents.

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