Incentives, business travel in Malaysia expected to rebound after Hari Raya

Faced with a slowdown in local corporate and government business events and corporate travel since April, due to both the general elections which was held yesterday and the month-long Ramadan which starts May 16, agents in Malaysia are holding their breath for a resumption in business after the festive celebrations.

Syed Razif Al-Yahya, managing director of Sutra Group of Companies, said government activities leading up to the general election was concentrated on election campaign activities.

Stakeholders believe business events and corporate group business will improve after back-to-back nationwide events

He shared: “We still received travel bookings, but it was mainly domestic bookings. Overall, government business saw a drop of 30 per cent in April and May, compared to the same period in 2017. Local corporate movements leading up to the general election have been slow (due to the) postponements of travel and incentives.”

He added that the outcome of the elections may also have an impact on future corporate groups as some companies have business dealings with government agencies, and are reliant on government contracts.

However, even though Syed Razif believes that government business activities will pick up after Hari Raya Aidilfitri, he opined that “budgets may be reduce as it has been eaten up by election activities”.

For S Jayakumar, operations manager at Dayangti Transport & Tours, his company also has received no corporate bookings during Ramadan.

“But we have a group of 30 travellers from Sri Lanka who are taking advantage of cheaper hotel rooms during the lower season to conduct their incentive programme in Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Resorts World Genting,” he said.

In addition, the company will also have three local corporate incentive groups embarking on their 3D/2N incentive trips to Langkawi, Terengganu and Johor next week, with everything to be concluded before the start of Ramadan on May 16.

S Jayakuma remains optimistic that business will pick up after the fasting month.

“We have received enquiries from local corporate companies for domestic incentive trips from end-June to September. A trend we see is the growing maturity of corporate clients who are placing greater emphasis on service levels. They are willing to pay a higher price for better service and comfort for their groups,” he noted.

As well, Yvonne Lim, director of sales and marketing at Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel, remarked: “We foresee business will be slow for corporate meeting groups during Ramadan, and so we have introduced meeting packages with Ramadan break of fast buffet spreads.”

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