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JOHOR BARU: Hotels in Johor are reporting good bookings following the opening up of interstate travel but are not able to cope with the overwhelming response.

Malaysian Association of Hotels Johor Chapter chairman Ivan Teo said the main problem was shortage of staff as many were retrenched during the various movement control orders.

He said hotels had no choice but to retrench their workers and those that chose to remain in business only kept a handful of staff.

“Johor has enough hotel rooms for guests but lacks employees,’’ Teo said.

He said hotel operators started recruiting new employees when Johor entered Phase Two under the National Recovery Plan (NRP) last month. Business was slowly picking up then.

“There are so many retrenched hotel workers out there. We are lucky as we don’t have to hire newbies and train them from scratch,’’ added Teo.

He said, however, that they still would have to undergo a refresher course as they were out of work for months, adding that the training would include Covid-19 SOP.

Teo said Johor Premium Outlets (JPO), which opened after a four-month hiatus, would attract tourists from outside Johor who shop for branded goods at discounted pricing.

“We are looking forward to the opening up of the borders between Malaysia and Singapore as it is key to Johor’s economy,’’ he said.

Lotus Desaru Resort chief executive officer R. Indra Ghandi said the resort received 100% bookings from interstate travel but was only able to operate at 60% due to shortage of employees.

“We have about 300 workers but the number is not enough. For buffet breakfast alone we have to serve about 1,400 guests,’’ she said.

Indra said breakfast would be in two halls with only 50% capacity allowed at any one time, adding that the peak period was from 7.30am to 9am.

“We even have to get staff from other departments to help out,’’ she said.

Indra said the resort needed about 100 more employees, including kitchen helpers, waiters, waitresses, housekeepers, gardeners and swimming pool lifeguards.

“We advertised for job vacancies a week ago and only managed to hire three,’’ she said.

Pulai Springs Resort general manager Sunny Soo said that it received between 25 and 35 confirmed room bookings daily during Phase Two of the NRP.

“On Sunday, we received 66,’’ he said.

Soo expected the number of bookings to go up in the coming days, for Deepavali in November and also Christmas. He added that unlike the pre-Covid-19 days, the resort now allowed its guests to order outside food using delivery services as only a limited number of guests were allowed to dine in.

Source : TheStar