Can’t something be done as Malaysians are flocking to Hatyai instead of Langkawi?

A RECENT report has shown that Malaysians are contributing hugely towards Thai tourism with an estimated 20,000 visitors landing daily in the southern city of Hatyai during the year-end holidays.

These holiday-makers contributed an estimated 10 bil baht (RM1.35 bil) to the local economy during the Christmas and New Year Eve celebrations.

On ordinary weekdays throughout the year, Hatyai typically enjoys a steady flow of around 5,000 Malaysian visitors daily – doubling to nearly 10,000 on weekends, according to Hatyai Songkhla Hotel Association president Sitthipong Sitthiphataraprabha.

He said Hatyai has firmly established itself as a favoured destination for travel enthusiasts seeking a delightful and budget-friendly getaway.

“Hatyai experiences a joyous surge in visitor numbers from Malaysia during the year-end holiday season. On peak season weekends (Christmas and New Year), Hatyai welcomed an average of 20,000 Malaysians daily while weekdays see around 10,000 visitors,” he told Bernama.

“During the festive cheer of Christmas and New Year, Malaysian tourists’ average spending per trip per person reaches 10,000 baht (RM1,350). As a result, Malaysian tourists are estimated to have contributed approximately 10 bil baht (RM1.35 bil) to the Hatyai economy this Christmas and New Year celebration alone.”

Support domestic tourism

Given that Malaysia’s hospitality industry is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, shouldn’t more be done to divert those numbers towards domestic tourism?

The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry should be going all-out to woo domestic holidaymakers in channelling their year-end kitty towards local destinations.

For sure, over a RM1 bil in revenue in just a week would be a welcome boost to any Malaysian destination.

Given the recent last-minute cancellation of the New Year’s Eve fireworks display at KLCC The Place has drawn criticism from some tourists, the local tourism industry really can do with a timely injection.

Local vendors should also take note that Hatyai’s appeal lies in it being a budget-friendly option. So instead of moves that smack of profiteering such as over-priced roti telur, perhaps more should be done to keep prices competitive and attract more domestic visitors.

Malaysian travellers should also do their part and understand the importance of supporting local businesses during these trying times. Instead of jetting off to neighbouring countries, try to plan holidays that will boost the nation’s economy for a win-win situation.

Instead of Hatyai, why not just embark on sun, sand, surf and solace in Langkawi? – Jan 2, 2023

Main pic credit: Bangkok Post

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