As hotels and tour operators in Malaysia rack up higher tourist receipts thanks to the competitive ringgit, they are rolling out upscale offerings targeted at Asian visitors.
Industry players note that Asian visitors are more willing to splurge, even upgrading their hotel rooms and purchasing more luxurious experiences.
Sand & Sandals Resort & Spa, located on Desaru Beach, has seen an uptick in guests choosing larger and more plush room categories, said its director of sales, Owen Tan.
“Our guests are also spending more in restaurants and on spa treatments,” noted Tan. “We are now offering spa and water-sports packages to attract more visitors.”
The resort’s key markets are in Asia, including Singapore, China and Hong Kong.
Also identifying this trend, inbound tour operator Synergy Tours – which previously specialised in the European market – has developed packages specifically for Asian travellers that include shopping stops and upscale hotels.
“Asians prefer the city life and are more willing to spend on shopping, such as buying products unique to the destination,” said Kan Pooi Yew, business development manager of Synergy Tours. “Shopping is in high demand for this market.”
She added: “We’re not offering budget tours for the Asian market since everyone else is doing the same.”
Instead, it is targeting Chinese business travellers with packages that include value-adds like transportation, guided tours and translation.
Conversely, the European market prefers to spend less while on a longer trip in Malaysia.
“Even though their currency is much higher than the ringgit, Europeans are not willing to spend much,” said Kan. “We frequently receive requests for more budget-friendly options.”
However, longhaul markets stretch their vacation time longer, with Europeans touring Malaysia for one to two weeks with Synergy Tours or even staying up to a month in resorts on Langkawi, according to MK Hotels & Resorts’ group assistant director of sales, Mohd Ariff Mokhtar.
These markets often prefer value-for-money offers or completely relaxation without any extra activities or experiences, said Kan and Ariff respectively.
- reporting live from PATA Travel Mart, Macau