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Hotels can expect higher occupancy rate [30-01-2012]  
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HOTELS in Malaysia, particularly those in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre, are expected to fill more rooms this year, says the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH).

Hotels within the Kuala Lumpur city centre could finish the year at an average occupancy rate of 68 per cent, up from 65 per cent in 2011, said MAH vice-president Ivo Nekvapil.

"This year should be stronger than last year... I do not foresee a dramatic drop in the number of arrivals," Nekvapil told Business Times.

"Asia is very strong, China business is strong, too, and India (performance) is coming along great," he said.

The occupancy projection is encouraging, given that the capital will have additional room inventory in 2012.

Nekvapil pointed out that there could be a review of room rates this year, but MAH was not expecting major changes.

Hotels expected to open this year include the 513-room Pullman Bangsar, the 364-room Best Western Premier Dua Sentral, the 500-room Ibis Styles Fraser Business Park Kuala Lumpur, the 412-room Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur and the 188-room extension of Impiana KLCC Hotel.

The 275-room Hotel Equatorial Kuala Lumpur will, however, close in April for a makeover.

Apart from Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, where tourist arrivals have traditionally been stronger, arrivals in Malacca and Penang are expected to remain strong this year.

In Sabah, Kota Kinabalu will continue to attract tourists.

Nekvapil felt that Johor's share of foreign tourists arrival would improve following the opening of the Johor Premium Outlets and Legoland in September.

Hotel occupancy data account for both foreign and local guests is a good gauge for arrivals into the country, both for business and leisure.

Tourism Malaysia, which receives tourist arrival data from the Immigration Department, has not provided arrival figures since mid-2011.

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