Poor world economy dulls Malaysia business travel performance

MALAYSIA’S travel industry is feeling the effects of the global economic slowdown, and players interviewed are bracing themselves for a tough year ahead.

While the oil and gas related industries and the banking sector are harder hit by global economic movements, Foo Sze Zhaun, business development manager of Corporate Information Travel, said business travellers going for trade fairs and exhibitions in Europe have picked up slightly for the automotive, publishing and industrial machinery sectors.

Foo added that corporate demand is shifting from longhaul to regional destinations.

Syed Razif Al-Yahya, group managing director of Sutra Group of Companies, said the group’s revenue from government and corporate travel is expected to drop by 40 per cent this year.

After witnessing reduced government travel budgets and delayed corporate payments, Syed intends to mitigate the impact by courting the leisure travel segment, which currently comprises only 10 per cent of the group’s total business.

Malaysian hoteliers are also tweaking their target markets and products to ride out the economic storm.

Pullman Kuala Lumpur Bangsar’s general manager, Eric Tan, said the property will target more regional travellers, while Dorsett Kuala Lumpur is giving itself an edge in the competition for business travellers by collaborating with Zuger International and equipping guestrooms with smartphones that afford guests free 3G connectivity, local calls and SMSes.

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