KUCHING: Hoteliers should target prime or selected tourists as this category of tourists are prepared to spend on prime products.
Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said it is important for the hotel industry to differentiate between mass tourists and selected tourists.
“What should we do in terms of attracting tourists? Do we want mass tourists, or selected tourists?
“For Sarawak, we go for prime tourists. That is why we organise business events or international events such as the Rainforest World Music Festival (RMWF).
“These are special tourists, not mass tourists. They don’t mind paying (for a high price),” he said at the Association of Hotels (MAH) dinner here on last Monday.
Abang Johari explained that even though there is a huge number of tourists and if they are mass tourists, this tourist category would not want to pay a high price.
“In other words, when you talk about price war, it depends on what type of tourists you are attracting.
“If you go for these mass tourists, you will have this sort of problem in terms of setting prices in your hotel,” he said.
Earlier, MAH Sarawak Chapter chairman John Teo said there are several issues facing the hospitality industry.
“First, there is the price war among hoteliers, it has been going on for donkey years. So, we had to discuss and inform the hoteliers in Sarawak that this had to be changed.
“That is why, we have suggested that for three-star property (hotel), the selling rate must be at least RM180, while for a four-star property (RM280 or RM320), and five-star property (RM520) for Sarawak and Malaysia.
“I have conveyed this to all the hoteliers in Sarawak and I hope that for the next three four months, this can be implemented. If not, no business can sustain,” he said, while adding that currently three-star hotels offer rates of RM120 and these businesses could barely survive.
He said quality products cannot be provided for foreign tourists and hence the increase in hotel price rate is needed as well.
“The second issue is shortage of staff. This is because with the low revenue that you generate, you cannot afford to pay the staff salary higher and then they end up going elsewhere to work,” he said.
Teo added another issue is the increased prices of goods which have also affected the hotel industry.
“To resolve this problem, for a start, we need to increase the price (of hotel rates) ,” he said.