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13 Johor Hotels Shut Down Due To Low Occupancy, State Will Launch Vouchers To Boost Tourism In 2021

Johor State Govt Says Opening Singapore Border Is Important, Brings Matter To Federal Govt Every Week

The Covid-19 pandemic has badly affected the tourism industry, with travel restrictions all but decimating travel demand.

In Singapore, we have initiatives like SingapoRediscovers vouchers to encourage domestic tourism and prop up the industry.

However, across the Causeway in Johor, the situation is dire, with 13 hotels already shut down due to low occupancy.


The shut border with Singapore has exacerbated the situation.

Johor hotel occupancy at 28% in Aug

The depressing news was announced by Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, Johor’s Tourism, Youth and Sports Committee chairman, on Tuesday (1 Dec).


Though he didn’t name the affected hotels, he did give some figures to indicate the scale of the situation, reported Bernama news agency.

In Aug, the average occupancy rate for Johor hotels was just 27.66%.

He compared it with that of Aug 2019, which was 57.3%.


Theme parks, malls are emptier

Blaming the Covid-19 pandemic for Johor’s tourism woes, he said that it has led to tourist guides in the state to lose income.

Theme parks have also seen a reduction in the number of visitors.


Not to mention Johor’s shopping malls, which are mostly empty of shoppers.

Opening Singapore border is important

One factor that has worsened matters for Johor’s tourism industry in the continued closure of the border with Singapore.

Mr Onn Hafiz said the state government is aware that opening the border is important, especially for the tourism sector.


He added that Johor’s Chief Minister has been bringing this matter to Malaysia’s federal government every week.

Covid-19 cases must be low in both countries

However, Mr Onn Hafiz said that in order for the border to open, the number of Covid-19 cases must be low in both countries.

It will also require cooperation between Johor’s statement government, federal government and Singapore.


On 1 Nov, Johor health and environment committee chairman R. Vidyananthan said Johor had been declared a “red zone” for Covid-19.

Another state official warned that Singapore’s won’t reopen the border if cases continue to spike.

Initiatives to help tourism industry

Mr Onn Hafiz said Johor has launched initiatives to help businesses in the tourism industry that have been affected by Covid-19.

They include:

  1. A one-off handout of S$328 (RM1,000) to registered tourist guides
  2. A cash handout of (S$657) RM2,000 to 586 tour agencies
  3. An allocation of S$105,000 (RM320,000) for 16 state and district associations
  4. Exemption of payment of business licenses and entertainment duties

Johor has also introduced a Covid-19-safe certification for hotels to increase public confidence in them and encourage staycations.

Next year, Mr Onn Hafiz also previewed the disbursement of S$492,000 (RM1.5 million) worth of tourism vouchers for use at selected tourist accommodations and shopping malls.

A dire situation indeed

The situation for the tourist industry in Johor seems dire indeed, and we sympathise with our neighbours.

Much as Singaporeans would like to head across the Causeway for some R&R, it may not be safe yet.

Our number of community cases have also been rising in the recent days, showing that we’re not totally licked the virus ourselves.

Let’s hope the Johor government’s initiatives can tide over its tourism industry for the time being till the Covid-19 situation improves.

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Featured image adapted from Facebook.

Jeremy Lee

Analog person making do with a digital world.

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