Monday, July 27, 2015

Sabah Tourism - Visitors are slowly coming back

Kota Kinabalu: Earthquakes and mudfloods have spooked visitors from coming to Kundasang for holidays, leaving lodge operators with barely any business for weeks.

But there are now signs the industry is finally recovering.

It has been near two months since the deadly 5.9-magnitude earthquake hit Ranau, and thereafter mudfloods, damaging properties and cutting off water supply for a week.

According to homestay operators, tourists are now making a return with some saying their outlets have been fully booked in August.

Walai Tokou operator Kohadie Watiman said 50 per cent of the accommodation is now filled with guests and could be hitting over 60 to 70 per cent by September.

The situation is much better than having only two to three families checking in a few days after the earthquake.

"Before the earthquake, the occupancy was full, it stayed on until June 8, three days after the first and most powerful jolt hit Ranau," he told the Daily Express.

Kohadie said he had also not lost any of his bookings, stressing that it will be all business until end of the year.

"We did not cancel any bookings. The tourists have agreed to postpone their stay here," he said.

Walai Tokou is a licensed homestay operator with house owners serving as host to their visitors.

It has homestay accommodation across several villages in Kundasang.

Kota Belud Tanak Nabalu operator Djuanis Mogirong said he also secured 10 groups to his facility, while about 20 groups are expected to be at his Bilit Homestay in August.

"Tourists now prefer to stay with local communities. The end of July and August onwards seem to be positive," he said.

Djuanis revealed he had lost around 90 per cent worth of two months business after his guests cancelled their bookings following the two disasters.

But not all are enjoying good business returns as yet.

Most large hotel and lodge operators around Kundasang are still recording very, very low occupancy.