Monday, January 29, 2007

Tourism in Desaru hit badly by floods

KOTA TINGGI: Johor’s premier tourist destination, Desaru, has been badly hurt by the floods with bookings at its resorts down by half.

A check showed that many resorts have been recording a 50% drop in visitors since the first floods hit the state on Dec 17.

An official from the Desaru Perdana Resort said many guests, especially those from Singapore, cancelled their bookings during the Christmas period constituting a 40% to 50% drop. An official from the Desaru Golden Beach said the resort, which had a room occupancy rate of 50%, rented out only 15 of its 200 rooms during the flood period.

At the Sebana resort, which rakes in an average of 40 golfers each weekend, only 26 golfers came last weekend via ferry.

Resort officials said the golfers, mostly Singaporeans, came only via sea and none came via land. The golfers disembarked at the Sebana ferry terminal boarding at the Tanah Merah terminal. Only 10 rooms were filled at the resort on the weekend, in contrast to the average of 40 in the preflood days.

Johor Tourist Guides Association chairman Jimmy Leong said the tourism sector saw a 90% drop in arrivals, resulting in millions of ringgit in losses.

“Normally, we receive 100 tour buses with about 3,500 tourists. Now, only 10 buses are coming into Johor. The tourists are scared the floods will prevent them from going back,” he said, adding that the floods had hampered accessibility to tourist spots in Desaru, Muar and Malacca.

Leong said he hoped the monsoon season would end soon. State Tourism and Environment committee chairman Freddie Long said the floods had affected popular tourist destinations like Kota Tinggi and Mersing.

“Although affected, the other areas are not critical,” he said, adding that Johor Tourism Action Council was compiling data on losses for the Tourism Ministry.

Source : STAR
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