TWO Malaysia-based inbound agents popular with the Japan market have seen an influx of cancellations for March and April and are anticipating that this year's demand would be slashed dramatically.
SMI Holiday planning manager Tanaka Miho said business from Japan had been almost wiped out since last week's disasters. It has received cancellations from MICE and FIT travellers all over Japan for up to May.
“The peak travel season to Malaysia is in July and August, but it still is too soon to gauge demand,” she said, adding that she expects only 40 to 50 per cent of the company’s market forecast to be met this year.
Japan Travel Bureau hotel & reservation manager Jacqueline Lee said about half of the bookings for March and April have been cancelled. These were mainly FIT and package tours.
She added that while the company had met its January and February targets, this would likely be a difficult year.
Both agents noted that suppliers, such as hotels and restaurants, had offered full refunds, and they were in turn extending the same arrangement to their partners in Japan.
Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa Kota Kinabalu director of sales and marketing Suzaini Ghani said the hotel had lost about 300 roomnights due to cancellations for March and April. She said: “We will extend whatever assistance we can to ease the difficulties (by Japanese guests and partners) during this period, including refunds and allowing guests to postpone their stay.”
- Read more in TTG Asia, March 25