Thursday, December 28, 2006

Desaru Hotels Hard Hit by the Floods

KOTA TINGGI: Hotels in the popular beach resort of Desaru are counting their losses, which amount to an estimated half a million ringgit, no thanks to the recent floods.

With roads leading to the resort, about 90 minutes’ drive from here, cut off by the rising waters, business was bleak during the recent Christmas period and is likely to be even worse during the coming New Year holidays.

The current rainy spell is likely to continue and Desaru, a popular destination for Singaporeans, is bracing itself for some hard times ahead.

Already, cancellation of bookings from Singaporeans is piling up and according to Zuraidah Zakaria, sales manager of the 200-room Desaru Golden Beach Hotel, 50% of their business is affected.

“We normally enjoy 100% occupancy during the Christmas and New Year period and the majority of our customers are Singaporeans. But not this time. The Christmas holiday period saw us suffering a 50% drop in business.

“If we go by full-house occupancy, we can expect revenue of RM60,000 per night, but for the two days leading to Christmas, that is on Dec 23 and Dec 24, our revenue was only an estimated RM50,000.”

“Cancellation of bookings for the New Year period is also quite high and already we have lost four group bookings which is estimated to cost us RM100,000,” Zuraidah said.

At the height of the floods which hit Kota Tinggi district last week, the road to Desaru, about 45 minutes’ drive from Kota Tinggi town, was not passable to traffic.

A landslide at the army-training centre on the Johor Baru-Kota Tinggi trunk road made things worse.

“The only way to Desaru is via the ferry from Changi in Singapore to Tanjung Belungkor and from there we arrange transportation for a half-hour drive to our hotel. But Singaporeans love to drive and they prefer to come in their own cars or even take the bus,” Zuraidah added.
The Pulai Beach Hotel, which has 180 rooms, was also hit badly.

A spokeswoman for the hotel said it had lost 239 room bookings for the Christmas period with losses in revenue estimated at RM100,000.

“I don’t see things improving for the New Year holidays. The rainy spell will have its affect on people travelling, especially from Singapore. So, we are prepared for the worst,” she said.

The smaller hotels, campsites and chalets have also seen a drop in business during the floods.
The town of Sungai Rengit, a half hour drive from Desaru and famous for its lobster, also saw a drop in business, especially from Singaporeans.

“Weekends and eves of public holidays in Singapore usually see an influx of Singaporeans coming for the seafood, especially the lobster, but not lately,” a restaurant owner said. – Bernama.

Source : STAR
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