Monday, June 15, 2009

Not the time for higher rates, Ng tells hoteliers

This is not the right time to raise the rates for services in the hotel and tourism industry.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said yesterday all parties in the industry must cooperate with the government in maintaining prices, especially in the present economic downturn.

She said she was told by a major Singapore tour agency during her trip to the republic recently that Malaysian tour guides had asked for an increase in rates and this has made them worried.

"With the number of visitors dropping, even hotel rates have gone down. I certainly don't agree with the tour guides' request for a raise as it will become an additional challenge to us. We have discussed this with all tourism players."
"They must cooperate with us during this difficult period. Raising prices during this time is not right," she said after giving away prizes to the winners of the state-level Homestay operators at Kampung Seterpa here yesterday.

On the homestay programme, Dr Ng said the government had decided to put a stop to the opening of new ones in the country as the present occupancy rate was low.

"We now have 4,000 homestays in the country but the occupancy rate is only about 10 per cent or 30 days a year. We want to raise it to 50 per cent," she said.

Dr Ng said the focus this year was to upgrade the homestays to the international level and the government would give them support and assistance wherever possible.

"The homestays must identify their niche and we will help them in their promotions. It will first be promoted in Singapore as it is our nearest neighbour," she said.

In the competition, Homestay Batu Papan from Gua Musang emerged champion, Kampung Seterpa runner-up and Kampung Renok Baru, Tanah Merah, third.

Source : NST
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