GEORGE TOWN: Despite the series of public holidays in May, those who fancy traveling to Penang can plan their trips to coincide with the durian season expected the following month.
Some players in the travel and hospitality industry said they had yet to see a surge in bookings next month despite the upcoming long weekends.
Labor Day May 1 will fall on a Sunday, then Hari Raya Puasa is expected one day after May 3-4 (Tuesday and Wednesday).
There are also school holidays on May 5 and 6 (Thursday and Friday).
Two weeks later there will be Wesak Day on May 15 (Sunday) followed by Pesta Kaamatan, or the harvest festival, in Sabah and Labuan on May 30 and 31 (Monday and Tuesday).
However, the Penang durian season peaks in late May and June.
Nature Fruit Farm owner Tan Jit Keong, who runs homestays at an orchard of various fruits, gets a steady stream of visitors for gatherings and yoga, but homestay unit bookings remain. moderate.
“We are only receiving the usual traffic and have not seen any peaks for the month of May.
“Those who book are the usual families and groups.
“Crowds are only expected to increase in June when the durian season begins,” he said.
Durian farmer Tan Chee Wei, 39, also expects the durian season to be in June, but said there will be fewer durians this year.
“The trees are producing less fruit and there will be a 30-40% reduction in the harvest compared to last year.
“Local favorites are still Musang King, Orr Chi (Black Thorn), Ang Heh (Red Prawn) and Hor Lor.
“The prices on the market will always be high and will only drop at the start of the season in June.
“Therefore, we expect the crowd to be waiting,” he added.
To accommodate the oncoming crowds, Tan prepared nearly 20 tables at his booth for customers to dine on.
Malaysian Penang Hotel Chapter chairman Tony Goh said hotel bookings were increasing for the first week of May due to the long public holidays, but hotels were not operating at full capacity.
“Penang remains a popular destination among domestic travelers for its beaches, nature, heritage, adventures and authentic street food.
“However, many hotels are facing staff shortages and cannot operate all rooms.
“Most hotels can only operate at around 50% of their full capacity,” he added.
Penang Koosoo Kwong Choon Tong Restaurant and Tea Shop Association chairman Vinah Yee also said restaurants will not receive any increase in bookings for the next month.
“Covid-19 cases are still high, leading many groups to postpone their parties even further.
“At the moment, there are only small family bookings for the reunion but the big events will have to wait until the end of the year.
“A lot of people just got together during the Qing Ming festival in April, so they don’t get together in May anymore.
“On average, restaurants are only getting around 75% of their usual sales compared to previous years before Covid-19,” she said.