Johor sees spike in international travellers

THE Malaysian state of Johor has become a hive of tourism activity of late, with Malaysian inbound travel consultants reporting stronger arrivals to the destination.

Kathryn Lee, southern regional managing director of Sri America Travel, said that between January and August, her company had seen a 30 per cent year-on-year rise in business from the Singapore market and a 10 per cent year-on-year increase from Indonesia.

“The strong Singapore dollar has resulted in more Singaporeans spending a night in Johor rather than making day trips,” she elaborated.

East Coast Adventure Travel & Tours’ managing director, Liza Alip, has also seen 15 per cent year-on-year growth in business from Singapore and single-digit growth from Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

Meanwhile, a recent release by TripAdvisor stated that the number of searches for Johor from August 2012 to July 2013 surged 45 per cent year-on-year. Searches by Singaporean and Malaysian travellers leapt by 23 and 27 per cent respectively.

Tripadvisor spokesperson, Jean Ow-Yeong, commented: “The increase in interest for Johor may be attributed to the growing number of tourist attractions such as Johor Premium Outlets (TTG Asia e-Daily, December 7, 2011) and Legoland that are sprouting up in the city of Johor Bahru, to the excitement and delight of travellers.”

East Coast’s Liza echoed this view, saying that the new attractions in Johor are a factor in attracting international tourists to the state.

However, she pointed out: “Most international tourists land in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. Johor needs more direct flights to regional destinations to further boost tourist arrivals.”

Johor has also begun carving out a niche as a theme park paradise, especially among visitors from China (TTG Asia e-Daily, August 15, 2013).

Singapore is currently Johor’s top source of international arrivals with almost 10 million visitors between January and July, followed by Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, Macau, the Philippines and India.

Johor’s Department of Tourism is aiming for 24.2 million arrivals for this year, having recorded 12.6 million as of July.

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