IPOH, Oct 15 — Hotel and eco-tourism operators in Perak said bookings for this weekend have risen noticeably following the federal government’s move to allow interstate travel for those fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Malaysian Association of Hotels Perak Chapter chairman Nurul Nuzairi Mohd Azahari said bookings have nearly doubled from the previous weekend before the interstate travel ban was lifted.
“Last weekend, we had about an average of 25 per cent bookings. However, for this weekend the hotels are booked for about 50 per cent,” he told Malay Mail when contacted.
However, Nurul Nuzairi noted that hotels were still far from being fully booked.
He suggested that this could be because Perak remained in Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan (NRP), which was the second most restrictive level.
Remaining in Phase Two meant major indoor tourism attractions were not allowed to operate, he said when pointing out that beyond 80 per cent of adults have been fully vaccinated in the state.
“For example, the number one tourist attraction in Ipoh, the Sunway Lost World of Tambun, is yet to be open due to this matter.
“The state government should expedite the process of entering Phase Three of the NRP. I’m not sure what indicators the authorities are looking at, but Pahang has entered Phase Four with a similar vaccination rate as us,” he explained.
Nurul Nuzairi said the state was already missing out on opportunities, such as accommodating Klang Valley visitors looking to escape the major water disruption there.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, hotels in Perak — especially in Ipoh — were almost fully booked during the weekends, but these saw occupancy evaporate as authorities imposed repeated lockdowns to try and control infections.
Now, small hotels located at famous tourist spots in Ipoh have begun seeing some signs of life again.
Sekeping Kong Heng by Dreamscape’s front desk receptionist Chan Hao Cheng, 25, said six of the 30 rooms have already been booked this weekend.
“Maybe we will get more walk-in customers on the weekend as tourists from neighbouring states such as Kuala Lumpur and Penang are expected to visit Ipoh due to the holiday and interstate travelling, which is now allowed,” he said.
At The Tudor Hotel, a receptionist who asked to be known only as Agnes also said reservations have risen this weekend.
“During the lockdown, we will only have bookings for two or three units in the weekend, which are normally booked by businessmen.
“However, for this weekend, the units are almost fully booked. We have been receiving inquiries since the day the government announced the lifting of the interstate travel ban,” she said.
While indoor tourism activities have yet to resume, eco-tourism operators were preparing to welcome groups of families and friends for outdoor recreation from this weekend.
Mohd Hasrol Kamis @ Mahmad, 38, said Radak Adventure in Gopeng was already fully booked the previous weekend.
“We have been getting bookings from all over Malaysia since the travel ban was lifted.
“People are coming for adventure and ecotourism activities such as whitewater rafting, waterfall abseiling, cave exploration and many more,” he said.
Similarly, houseboat owner and operator Muhamed Noraini Ali Othman, 68, at Temenggor Lake at the Royal Belum State Park in Gerik, said that he has received more booking inquiries than he could accommodate this weekend.
“My houseboat has been fully booked for this weekend and half of my fishing boat has been rented.
“It is good to see the business has been improving after a long while due to the lockdown,” he said.
Muhamed Noraini said that his houseboat consists of a leisure room, bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen.
“Visitors who stay in the houseboat can enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing and kayaking,” he added.
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob previously announced that both interstate and international travel have been allowed to resume those fully vaccinated against Covid-19 from October 11, after over 90 per cent of adults have received their Covid-19 jabs.