Monday, February 26, 2007

Johor sees more tourists from across Causeway

JOHOR BARU: The state has received about 120,000 tourists on weekends since January, a 54 per cent increase compared to the corresponding period last year.

State Tourism and Environment Committee chairman Freddie Long said about 90 per cent of the tourists entered via the Causeway.

"On weekdays, the number is about 60,000 per day," he said, adding that day-trippers made up the bulk of the tourists from Singapore.

Malaysian Association of Hotels Johor chapter president John Roozemond said hotels in the state had recorded an impressive occupancy rate.

The year started out slow due to floods but has since picked up, with a rising number of bookings from March to October.

Johor Tourist Guides Association (JTGA) chairman Jimmy Leong said an average of 20 to 30 tour coaches crossed into Johor from the republic daily, while on weekends and public holidays, the figure was between 80 and 100.

He said a decision by the government to stop heavy vehicles, including tour coaches, from using the Causeway beginning from March next year was expected to hurt the tourism sector.

"The association will make its stand on the matter known to the state government.

"Coaches using the Causeway will take 45 minutes but the time will increase three- fold if they are forced to use the Second Link.

"There should be review on the proposed ban or tourism will be badly affected."

Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu recently said heavy vehicles would have to use the Second Link for six months beginning from March next year to facilitate construction of an access road at the new Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex.

Source : NST
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