KUALA LUMPUR: The opening of several attractions in Johor is expected to improve tourists spend by a fourth and an average stay by at least two days.
If domestic tourism statistics in 2011 are anything to go by, the top five most frequented destinations in Johor are Tebrau, Gunung Ledang, Danga Bay, Plaza Angsana and Desaru.
All this could change when at least 11 new attractions are scheduled to open in the state. Six of these are being developed by companies under Khazanah Nasional Bhd.
Themed Attractions and Resorts (TAR) Malaysia for example, will open Hello Kitty Town, Little Big Club and Lat themed attraction in Puteri Harbour later this year.
In 2014, it will open Ocean Quest and Ocean Splash water parks in Desaru.
TAR chief executive officer Tunku Ahmad Burhanuddin said a study conducted by Bain & Co had revealed that in terms of average stay and spend, Malaysia is lower compared to Thailand and Singapore.
"The whole idea (of developing Johor) is to increase stays and spend to a more respectable level from now," Ahmad said, adding that the company hopes to see tourists stay a couple more days and spend 25 per cent more.
"Within the next five years, we would have made some kind of mark," he told Business Times in an interview.
"Once we have that, the attraction of that becomes much more. We are now starting from ground zero. Once we get more people to come, there will be more attractions and products," he said.
This, in turn will provide more reasons for people to go to Johor and stay there, he added.
Puteri Harbour is looking to attract 500,000 visitors in the first year of operations. It will target school groups.
About similar number of visitors are expected at Ocean Splash and Ocean Quest in the first year of operations. Both of the parks will open in 2014.
"At our Johor projects, we are looking at a 50-50 per cent split between local and foreign visitors," Ahmad said.
Meanwhile, Legoland, which is slated to open on September 15 this year, expects to bring in one million visitors in the first year.
TAR chief operating officer Steve Peet was quick to point out that it is very likely that the same visitor visits several parks during one trip. However, as they visit all the parks, they will stay longer and spend more.
-- BUSINESS TIMES