Malaysia: Local tourists return, but only to resorts

PETALING JAYA: The local tourists are coming back, and resort hotels are seeing a spike in occupancy rates, with some recording occupancy rates of up to 90%.

Malaysia Budget Hotel Association national deputy president Sri Ganesh Michiel said budget hotels in places such as Cameron Highlands, Langkawi and Tioman are reporting very good business – at least for now.

“Some of these hotels are reporting occupancy rates of between 80% and 90%. It would be higher if not for the standard operating procedures to maintain social distancing, ” he told StarBiz.

However, city-based hotels are still reeling from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, said Ganesh.

“City hotels are still badly hit. Some see a pick-up in business towards the end of the week or weekends, but on the weekdays it’s still pretty bad.”

Ganesh, however, raised concerns that business may not be so rosy for the resort budget hotels once the six-month loan moratorium ends at the end of this month.

“Right now, people have cash in hand and many are taking advantage of promotions and rebates. Once they have to start paying their loans from next month, we may see a significant drop in occupancy rates.”

Additionally, Ganesh said four and five-star hotels have also been slashing their prices heavily, a move that has severely affected the businesses of budget hotels.

“Some of the four and five-star hotels are offering massive discounts, as low as RM80. When that happens, how are the budget hotels going to survive?”

During a panel discussion at the 2020 National Housing and Property Summit on Tuesday, Zerin Properties founder and chief executive officer Previndran Singhe said resort hotels have seen a pick-up in occupancy rates since the implementation of the recovery movement control order (RMCO).

“The pandemic has had an adverse impact on the local hotel sector but since the RMCO, we’ve seen business picked up in touristy hotels, especially those near beaches, ” he said.