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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

40 hotels set for opening in Johor

Of the numbers, almost half are expected to be built within the next five years, prompting concerns of an oversupply.

A whopping 40 new hotels, predominantly within the three- and five-star categories, are slated for opening in Johor.

Of the numbers, almost half are expected to be built within the next five years, prompting concerns of an oversupply.

Chairman of the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Johor Chapter, Tengku Ahmad Faizal, said a right balance could be achieved if these openings are done in phases.

As Johor transforms itself into the amusement and theme park capital of Malaysia, there is a requirement for additional supply of hotel rooms.

Nevertheless, there is also a need for lower star-category hotels.

“Should all the hotels open according to schedule, with the opening of Legoland, followed by Hello Kitty Town, Little Big Club and LAT theme parks, room supply should be just nice.

“Looking at up to 2015, there will be sufficient rooms to cater to the expected increase in tourists,” Tengku Ahmad said.

It was reported that Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said by 2014 alone, Johor will have an additional supply of 3,000 new rooms.

“But what we need is all categories of accommodation.
We need lower-category rooms, below the three-star category to cater to the middle- and lower middle-income groups.

Serviced apartments for families are required as well,” he said.
Tengku Ahmad pointed out that all of these openings may not work in favour of the hotel operators if the rooms are not filled.

“With 40 hotel openings, and possibly more, everyone has to play their part in order to create awareness about Johor and to get the tourists to the state.

"We will surely need more international direct flights into the Senai International Airport. Otherwise, the perception that Johor is not easy to reach will remain," he said.

He added that Johor is always a difficult destination to sell, but with the new developments taking place, he hopes more travel agents will start promoting the state.

With the opening of international hotel brands like Traders Hotel, Sheraton and Aman, Tengku Ahmad expects Johor's visibility in the international scene will increase further.

However, he also said that while the hotel plans will create more jobs in the state, filling the openings and retaining staff can pose a challenge.

This is because hotel staff are easily persuaded to move to Singapore, or even from one hotel to another hotel for just an additional RM50 a month.

If there are insufficient numbers of arrivals to fill the available capacity, it will not be unusual for hotels to begin a rate war just so they can survive.

By Business Times

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