HOLIDAY Villa Hotel & Suites Alor Star said its corporate business is improving as it has more European guests working for large companies there staying for a longer time.
General manager Azhar Mohammad said the business has been improving since 2008 despite the global economy downturn.
"We have guests who have been staying with us since 2008. Some companies are expanding so there will be more jobs. We expect our revenue and hotel occupancy to grow by 15 per cent this year," he said in an interview with Business Times in Alor Star.
The companies include MMC-Gamuda JV, the main contractor for the RM12.5 billion Ipoh-Padang Besar electrified double tracking project (EDTP), and Asian Composites Manufacturing, an alliance between Sime Darby Bhd, Naluri Bhd and Boeing and Hexcel Corp, which supplies parts for Boeing.
Azhar said the biggest contributor going forward will be the double tracks, which will have high-speed trains cutting travel time by almost half from Ipoh in Perak to Padang Besar, near the Thailand border.
"Once the tracks are completed, we will have more business and leisure guests from Singapore, Thailand and the Klang Valley. We are raising room rates accordingly," he said.
The hotel's average room rate is RM170 a night and walk-in guests pay RM250.
"The public can't wait for the high-speed trains to run as it will reduce traffic and accidents on the highways. People who avoided travel to Kedah by car previously, now have a choice," Azhar said.
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) vice chairman (Kedah) for outbound and ticketing Dzaher Ahmad said the local tourism sector is set to boom thanks to the EDTP.
Dzaher said he expects more 3 and 4-star hotels to open in Kedah by 2013.
"With the high-speed trains running, we expect more tourists to come to Kedah. We have interesting places such as Bujang Valley, a sprawling historical complex, and Gunung Jerai, a massive limestone outcrop that rises 1200m above sea level.
"The world's longest canopy walk is located in Sg Sedim in Kulim and the biggest mangrove in Merbok," he said.
The EDTP involves the building of 329km of new electrified double tracks, replacing the existing single track. As at February 2010, the project is 38 per cent completed.
Source : BTimes
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