Monday, August 06, 2007

Malaysian Room Crunch Turns Middle Eastern Visitors Away

THE end of July to September is usually the peak travel period for Middle Eastern holiday makers, but Malaysian travel agents have noticed a drop in volume this year as well as length of stay for this market.

Mayflower Acme Tours senior international sales manager, Ms Huda Yahya Mohd Saleh, said the company has seen a drop of some 24 per cent in arrivals from the Gulf region.

She added: "Phuket offers better rates compared to Langkawi. A three-week stay in a five-star hotel costs about RM15,000 (US$4,328) , inclusive of airfare. Add an additional RM3,000, and you can experience Europe. Which is better? Malaysia has also lost out to London, Paris and Geneva as summer holiday destinations."

Another challenge is the shortage of rooms in Kuala Lumpur this month leading to higher rates. Ms Huda said the company could not confirm rooms at five-and four-star hotels.

The Royale Bintang Kuala Lumpur general manager, Mr Leo Kuscher, said the hotel had full occupancy in July, and he expected the same for August until the first week of September. The average room rate at this four-star hotel has also increased by 25 per cent in July and August.

Asia Experience account manager, Mr Solihhene Abdullah, said: "Due to the unavailability of rooms in the city centre, we try to promote hotels which are a little further from Kuala Lumpur such as in Putrajaya or at the Palace of the Golden Horses hotel, but the response from customers is lukewarm. When they cannot get a hotel they want, they move to another destination."

Mr Abdullah said he noticed the average length of stay of Middle Eastern tourists has fallen from seven to 10 nights, to two or three nights. "Usually, after Kuala Lumpur, they would move to a beach resort, but we noticed they are increasingly moving to Phuket and Bangkok."

Source : TTG
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