Johor has long been a popular destination for Singaporeans in need of a quick weekend rest and recreation session, but recent tourism data report that Singaporeans might have started looking for other options.
Singaporean tourist arrivals in Johor have significantly declined. Only 10.62 million Singaporeans visited Malaysia in 2018. The drop caused Malaysia to miss its target of 26.4 million tourist arrivals.
Sources cite continuing tensions between Singapore and Malaysia for the decline in tourist arrivals. Singaporeans who have visited Johor in the recent months also complained of overcrowded checkpoints, long queues at the Malaysian immigration as well as horrible traffic conditions.
Local Malaysian food and beverage (f&b) businesses are heavily affected by the lack of tourists.
“Johor’s tourism industry thrives on visitors from Singapore. This has also impacted the services industry in a big way,” stated Ho Su Mong, president of the Malaysia-Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors’ General Association.
But, the hawkers – who are already at the margins – still take the hardest hit. Hawkers at the night markets rely on tourists for 30 percent of their income.
Yow Boon Chuan of the Federation of Hawkers and Petty Traders’ Association Malaysia said that business has already been bad since Chinese New Year.
Singaporeans may have gotten bored of the usual and are on the lookout for new, exciting experiences. Cheap and competitive airfare rates make other destinations such as Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia, and Japan more appealing. However, Penang is still the top cruise destination for Singaporeans.
A 2018 tourism survey reported that young working Singaporeans seek holiday destinations that can “make them feel like a child again” and “help to ease the burden of stressful adult life.” And, perhaps driven by the need for documenting Instagram-worthy experiences, Singaporeans say that they prefer to stay in “unique and remarkable types of accommodation.”-TISG
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