Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sarawak still tourists’ favourite destination

SIBU: Tourists, despite having to pay more for their accommodation still considers Malaysia, Sarawak in particular, their favourite destination in the Asean region.

“Malaysia, or Sarawak for that matter, is blessed with myriads of tourism products and remains among the cheapest tourist destinations in the region,” said Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Sarawak chapter’s liaison officer for Sibu, Roy Ting.

It was augmented with quality tourism players and products, thus boosting tourists’ confidence and satisfaction, he added.

“As such, the presence of these feel good or ‘Wow’ factors will offset tourists’ concern over costlier rooms,” Ting said.

He asserted that since the benefits far outweighed the cost, the minimal hike in room rates would not turn tourists away from Malaysia or Sarawak.

“Furthermore, tourists are prepared to spend whenever they travel.

The way I see it, domestic tourism will continue to grow next year,” Ting told The Borneo Post yesterday.

He was asked to respond to the call of Sarawak Central Region Hotel Association chairman Johnny Wong Sie Lee on hotels affected by the increase in service tax to up their room rates.

Wong had also been quoted to have said budget hotels were expected to downsize their business next year to avoid the higher service tax and thereby, sustain their business.

Scaling down the argument to the local front, managing director of Equitorial Tours and Travel Sdn Bhd Robert Tan reckoned that backpackers and salesmen might feel the pinch as they usually stayed in budget hotels.

Conversely, tourists opted for three- to four-star hotels when visiting Sibu as their rates were still competitive compared to places such as Kuching and Kuala Lumpur, he said.

Citing an example, he pointed out that a room rate here (inclusive of breakfast) was about RM150 per night while that in KL could easily go beyond RM500.

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