Weaker ringgit a boon for tourists to visit Johor
Weaker ringgit a boon for tourists to visit Johor

Weaker ringgit a boon for tourists to visit Johor

THE weaker ringgit did not stop Malaysians from spending their holiday overseas, especially in regional countries Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Johor chairman K. Subramaniam said many people took the opportunity to visit these countries during the long Chinese New Year celebration and school break.

“They would rather spend their time vacationing elsewhere than get caught in the traffic congestion along the highways here.

“During Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali, Christmas and long school holidays, our highways are chockful of cars,” he said.

Subramaniam said the Chinese New Year period had always brought good business to Johor Baru-based tour and travel agents before the outbreak of the global Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020.

“Five years ago, our members received brisk bookings for domestic tour packages especially from China and Singapore,” he noted.

He said that post-Covid-19, in the lead-up to Chinese New Year, the Causeway was often busy with locals working in Singapore returning to their hometowns and not because of Singaporeans spending their holidays in Johor.

“Singaporeans would rather take ferries to Batam Island or Bintan Island to spend their holiday there than face the congestion at the Johor Causeway,” he added.

However, Mersing Tourism Association (MTA) secretary Ahmad Firdaus Shaik Omar said the weaker ringgit could be a boon to Johor’s tourism sector.

He hoped more foreign tourists would visit South China Sea islands in Mersing district, apart from using the Mersing Ferry Terminal to get to Pulau Tioman in Pahang.

“Pulau Aur has one of the most beautiful diving spots in the region,” he said, adding that most of the foreign tourists visiting Mersing islands were Singaporeans.

Ahmad Firdaus said locals preferred island-hopping day trips covering Pulau Harimau, Pulau Rawa, Pulau Hujung, Pulau Tengah and Pulau Besar as the packages were affordable.

He highlighted that the MTA was also collaborating with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to promote and develop sustainable tourism in the district.

He added that the United Nations agency was tasked with helping countries eliminate poverty and achieve sustainable economic growth and human development.

Ahmad Firdaus said the RM1.3mil financial allocation given to the association would be used to improve English language proficiency among those involved in tourism activities and the local community.

He said MTA was also looking at producing souvenirs made up from recycled plastic, as well as training 30 divers and 40 snorkelling guides under the programme.

“We want to develop local capacity towards long-term self-sufficiency and prosperity,” he added.

Sila Baca Juga

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