The Sabah Hotel Association (SHA) is upbeat about a higher occupancy rate for the rest of the year.
Its president, Terence Tulus, expressed confidence on this when he led a delegation to pay a courtesy call on Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew.
“We are looking forward to the year-end holiday season when an improved occupancy rate is expected,” he said.
Quoting figures from the Sabah Tourism Board (STB), Terence said the occupancy rate was 71.2 per cent for member hotels in the State capital between January and June this year.
The majority of the 51 SHA members are budget hotels (three stars and below).
Confirming this, STB Senior Research Manager Angeline Engchuan said the statistics are preliminary as some budget hotels have yet to submit their occupancy reports.
“Overall, the average monthly occupancy rate for all hotels in Sabah (encompassing all types) was 62.8 per cent for the period from January to June this year. However, four and five-star hotels enjoyed better average occupancy, that is, 70.8 per cent and 74.9 per cent respectively,” she said.
Terence is optimistic that hotels in Sandakan will fare better if tourists stay there overnight, instead of making day trips only.
Semporna is experiencing a significant tourism growth due to the prevailing China market. Hotels there are reportedly fully booked from April last year until the end of this year.
The SHA delegation also urged the minister to look into the operations of Airbnb while raising cleanliness and security issues in the interest of tourism growth.
The hoteliers disagreed with the concurrent imposition of tourism tax and departure levy, saying the former should be waived in favour of exit tax.
Welcoming the delegation, Liew, who is also Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, said: “Having such meeting with the ministry is useful. Don’t be afraid to speak up from time to time on pertinent matters relating to the tourism industry.”
Meanwhile, Terence introduced the SHA Executive Committee and SHA members to the minister. Among them were deputy president Felix Joikon, first vice-president Uddin Ali, treasurer S.F. Young and committee member Pris Fang.
Also present were the ministry’s principal assistant secretary, Mary Malangking, STB senior marketing manager, Tay Shu Lan, SHA executive Ssecretary Doreen Johnny and hoteliers Lawrence Kunjan, Stephen Abok, Ken Ang, Mary Chey, Anna Lim, Dione Tay, Adrian Foo and David Kiung.