Friday, June 27, 2008

F1 Singapore Benefits Johor Hotels

Hotels and travel agents in Johor Bahru expect business to be brisk during this year’s fasting month, traditionally a slow period, thanks to the spill­over from the FORMULA 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix weekend. Race visitors opting for more affordable hotels are giving the capital of Malaysia’s southern-most state a boost.

The five-star Hyatt Regency Johor Bahru and the five-star Puteri Pacific Hotel Johor Bahru are banking on full occupancy during the race weekend. Both hotels are charging rack rates with a minimum three-night stay.

Rates at Hyatt Regency Johor Bahru start from RM398 (US$123) and RM400 at Puteri Pacific, which are a fraction of what Singapore hotels are charging.

In the Lion City, Rendezvous Hotel Singapore, for example, is charging S$950 (US$695) per night for a minimum of three nights, and S$700 per night for a minimum of five nights. Five-star Meritus Mandarin Hotel Singapore, is charging S$1,500 per night for a deluxe room for a minimum stay of three days, with full non-refundable payment upon booking.

The Singapore government has imposed a 30 per cent levy on the room revenues of 11 hotels closest to the race track, and 20 per cent on all other hotels.

At press time, Puteri Pacific Hotel Johor Bahru director of sales, Mr Kamarul Annuar, said 65 per cent of bookings were confirmed.

Hyatt Regency Johor Bahru general manager, Mr Richard Simmons, said the hotel would assist guests to book transport to Singapore.

Pulai Springs Resort general manager, Mr Jerome De La Fuente, said his resort had imposed a minimum four-night stay and had already received 40 confirmed room bookings. The hotel is charging RM350 per room per night inclusive of breakfast and one return transfer to Singapore.

New Asia Holidays general manager, Mr Raaj Navaratnaa, said his company’s F1 package included transfers to Singapore, accommodation in Johor Bahru and F1 tickets from US$800. To date, the company has received 60 bookings, mainly from Germans and Australians. He expects the number to increase to 200 closer to the date.

He is also collaborating with his Singapore partners to sell packages during the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore Travel Fair from August 1 to 3.

East-Coast Adventure Travel & Tours director, Ms Halizah Mohamed Alip, said the company had sold three packages, which included transfers to the race site, five-day/four-night accommodation in Johor Bahru and tours to Kluang town and Desaru beach. Bookings were from the UAE, India and Italy.

Johor Tourism director, Ms Noridah Kamarudin, said she was meeting operators and hoteliers in Desaru to promote the beach destination. It was once popular with Singaporeans but lost its charm due to the lack of accessibility when the ferry service connecting Singapore Changi Airport with Belungkor stopped in the mid-1990s.

A new highway, connecting Pasir Gudang and Desaru, is scheduled to be completed next year. It will reduce travel time from Johor Bahru city from one-and-a-half hours to 45 minutes.

Source : TTG
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