Arab Factor to Boost Mega Sales Print E-mail

Arab factor to boost mega sales

From The Star, Sunday, 20 July 2008 

KUALA LUMPUR: Tourism Malaysia is banking on oil money from Middle Eastern countries to help fuel the Mega Sale Carnival from July 5 to Sept 1.

“This is the Arab season. There will be an influx of tourists wanting to escape the summer heat there. We are expecting 300,000 tourists from Middle Eastern countries,” said Amiruldin Abu, Tourism Malaysia deputy director-general (planning).

A number of extra flights are flying in from Jeddah (32), Iran (20), Kuwait (16) and UAE (10).

Last year, the Arab season (until the end of July) brought in 245,302 tourists from the Middle East who spent RM1.4bil.

Statistics showed each tourist stayed an average of eight nights and spent about RM6,000.

Amiruldin said Arab tourists were fond of Malaysia because they felt comfortable here.

However, Malaysian Retailers Association president Eddy Chan said the Arab factor was only applicable to certain malls.

He spoke to a few counterparts and overall, the first weekend sales was not better than last year’s figures.

Chan said locals were more cautious about spending after the fuel hike hit many pockets.

Also, many avoided the city as rumours swirled about a mass gathering in town.

“People don’t want to be caught inside their cars for hours because of traffic jams. This did not help getting customers into our stores over the weekend,” he said.

The lack of extensive media promotion about the Mega Sale ahead of the event was also a damper.

Previously, the publicity hit the electronic and print media as early as two months before the sales.

“This time, maybe the Government was preoccupied with other things,” said Chan.

Retailers hoped the second half of the year - with the fasting month, Hari Raya, Christmas and New Year festivities, would encourage more sales.